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ABOVE: An ATM or cashpoint in Heidelberg, Germany.

Tip 7: Watch for hidden ATM, credit-card, and exchange fees.


Many banks and credit-card issuers are now gouging their customers with "conversion fees" and other surcharges on foreign transactions.

Also, prepaid "traveler's cheque cards" can make you feel like the victim of a Parisian pickpocket when you see how little money is left over after you've paid the fees.


Currency-exchange commissions and fees can be mind-boggling, so get your cash from ATMs when you can. (A while back, we saw that a Travelex office in Venice was charging an 8.5% commission to change U.S. dollars or pounds sterling into euros, plus a €3,50 handling fee.)

Also, take claims of "no commission" with a grain of salt: The exchange counter may not be itemizing its percentage, but you can be sure that a hefty profit margin is built into the quoted exchange rate.

More info:

To learn about unconscionable fees and how to avoid them, read our articles about money for travelers before leaving home.

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