Money Matters


The euro is the official currency of the countries in the European Union. Euro banknote and coin denominations are as follows:

 Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500

 Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents; 1 and 2 euro

There is no need to obtain local currency before your trip. However, if you do not have a relationship with a local bank, your will need to use an exchange office for currency exchanges.  (Please note that torn, dirty, or taped bills may not be accepted.) The most convenient way to get euros is via ATM machines, which are well widely available throughout Europe. You will need to remember to have your PIN available.

Currency exchange rates fluctuate daily.  For current exchange rates, please refer to the our website, or the financial section of your newspaper.

How to Carry Your Money

Traveler’s checks—not recommended: We urge you not to rely on traveler’s checks for your personal expenses. They can be difficult to exchange and the commission fee for cashing them is quite high. Some banks will not exchange traveler’s checks at all. It’s most practical to view any traveler’s checks you might bring as a last “cash” resort in the event of a special situation.  U.S. dollars have an advantage. Cash is more readily exchanged and accepted than traveler’s checks, and sometimes commands a better exchange rate.

Debit/ATM cards give you a reliable payment method and ready access to local currency. We recommend you use a debit card for withdrawals at ATM machines when you need cash, as it will allow you the flexibility of accessing money at your convenience without relying on bank hours for money exchanges. When traveling, typically PLUS, Cirrus, and other bank networks are available throughout large cities and small towns. Always notify your bank before you leave home that you are going abroad so that they may remove any blocks on your account and also ask them about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad.  Be sure to also check with your bank regarding any foreign ATM transaction fees.

Though major American credit cards (American Express, Visa, and MasterCard) are accepted abroad, always inquire if your type of credit card is accepted before deciding on your purchase. It is also wise to notify the credit card company that you will be using your cards abroad so that they may remove any security block. When using a major credit card you may receive a different exchange rate than if you pay with cash; inquire about the rate first. Please be aware that credit cards might not be accepted for small purchases or in the markets. Discover credit card does not operate outside the U.S. Keep your receipts in case you have questions about the conversion or exchange rate. Also, keep your receipts as proof of purchase for items to be shipped home.

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