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Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Exchange Game

To follow up on a previous post regarding exchanging money overseas...

I just received my latest bank and credit card statements from my monthlong trip to Europe. My credit card company charged a three percent "exchange transaction" fee on every charge. Meantime, Bank of America charged $5.00 for every ATM withdrawal. The banks whose ATMs I used in Scandinavia and Hungary charged about $1 per withdrawal, while the Albanian bank charged nothing.

So, depending on the amount I withdrew from the ATM, my overall transaction fee ranged from three to eight percent. However, given BOA's new policy, starting June 1, that an additional three percent fee (based on the dollar amount withdrawn) will be charged makes ATM withdrawals exponentially more expensive. My advice: Stick to credit card transactions whenever possible, and look for both credit card companies and banks that offer low international transaction fees.

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