Ask About the Commission Fee Before Exchanging Currency

Each Friday, we feature a reader-submitted tip as our Travel Tip of the Day. This week’s tip comes from reader Buzzy G. in Israel, who says:

“When changing currency in an airport (or bank), ask to see the commission fee or percentage before beginning the transaction, or even handing over your passport.

“At the airport in Rome I exchanged dollars for euro, expecting to receive the exchange rate displayed in large print at the booth. I gave the teller $100 and my passport, yet received only €67 in return: from the exchange rate that promised €82, a whopping €15 was deducted in commission. When I insisted on canceling the transaction, he pointed to the small, illegible print at the bottom of the list of exchange rates spelling out the commission, and told me he could not reverse the transaction because he had already scanned my passport.

“I always use a credit card that charges no fee for foreign transactions, but thought that I would use local currency for vending machines in the transit lounge (which are cheaper than the snack bars). It turns out, however, that many machines in Europe are now equipped to handle credit card payments for as little as €1, by simply tapping a ‘contactless’ pad.”

Thanks, Buzzy!

A great tool for exchanging currency


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