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A Discord server has been created for TMF refugees.

https://discord.gg/Rhr8NMyw

If there is enough interest, the owner will open a travel board. So far the server works. Takes a little getting used to, but not too alien.
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How about the card/s offered by Schwab?

🤨
ralph
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I use my USAA card almost exclusively. It's big advantage is that it's chip/PIN. Europe especially is geared for that: insert card, enter PIN when prompted, transaction done. Very secure (which is why they do it over there...we are very foolish not to be doing it on this side of the pond).

None of my other cards offer that. So I use my USAA VISA. I would have to double check to see if there's an exchange fee.

Interesting comment about currency. So always do it in local currency. I will try to remember that.

I don't generally use a debit card. In fact, I think my credit union never sent me a new one because I never used the old one. I did get cash with my USAA card once, but usually I have cash in my money belt and just look for a currency exchange (often at the airport, but I have had to find a bank a couple of times).

1poorguy
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1poorguy,

While an ATM/debit card must be kept secure, it is far less risky than carrying all of the cash needed to fund a vacation on your person. Admittedly, it may be different if you spend your trip solely on a cruise ship for a moderate period of time, but we tend to take trips of 2-4 months at as clip with at least half of the time spent hoofing it across multiple countries by car/train/bus/plane/whatever.

I have found that the vig charged by banks and money changers is likely to be 10% (higher on cruise ships) and have found it easier/safer to use cars to pull out moderate amounts of cash on an as-needed basis.

That said, there are places in the world (Zimbabwe comes to mind) where I travel with a stack of freshly printed US one dollar and five dollar bills and don't bother with cards or local currency. That said, that's the exception and I find I generally get better prices almost everywhere by using local cash if I'm not paying by credit card.

In places where I use USD (Madagascar and Mozambique come to mind), frequently the locals don't want $1 bills as they get a lower rate than for larger bank notes, so they will quote prices like "3 pieces for $5" and refuse to take one dollar bills. My solution (if I only want one piece) is to say "I'll give you a $5 bill for one piece and you give me three of the "bad" $1 bills as change. Everyone is happy.

Another strategy I've used to get rid of foreign currency when in a tourist environment (Brazil comes to mind) is to, at the end of the day, offer one of the vendors to trade them their currency for US dollars at the bank rate. That way, neither of us gets stuck with paying a commission and both of us can buy a pizza with our own money when we get home:-).

Jeff
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Ralph,

You'll have to ask them. I currently use ATM cards from a local commercial bank and from HSBC (which is the only retail bank I'm aware of with branches in nearly every hovel in the world). I have heard that Fidelity has cards with advantageous terms, but haven't personally checked them out.

While many credit cards (but not all) don't charge foreign transaction fees, the only ATM cards that I've seen from banks that eat the fees require require you to have fairly large minimum sized accounts there. Brokers may also offer similar terms, but I've not checked. Playing with plastic is just a byproduct of my primary activity which is traveling.

Jeff
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https://boards.fool.com/checking-account-with-charles-schwab...

I haven't written a book but have used the card in many, many places around the world.
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How about the card/s offered by Schwab?

Dunno. I know Fidelity reimburses ATM fees. My credit union does too, so you might want to check with your bank and see if they do as well.

If I were paranoid I'd probably load up my Fidelity cash account with whatever money I needed for the trip, use the Fidelity card for cash withdrawals, and leave my credit union debit card at home. But I've used my debit card for cash pretty extensively in Europe over the last several years and never had a problem.
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A Discord server has been created for TMF refugees.

https://discord.gg/Rhr8NMyw

If there is enough interest, the owner will open a travel board. So far the server works. Takes a little getting used to, but not too alien.
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