Buying currency with cc ?

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Might sound a silly question, but I have a cc that doesn't charge a fee for foreign money, and I want to get a few hundred dollars from my local thomascook before travel. I know thomascook will charge for using a cc instead of debit but will it be classed as a purchase or cash transaction/withdrawal?
I don't know if it's best to buy using he card, or to withdraw cash and take the hit on interest for 3 days (will be paid in full as payday arrives day after flying out).
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  • bengal-stripe
    bengal-stripe Posts: 3,349 Forumite
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    edited 29 September 2013 at 11:00AM
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    You will be much better off, to use your CC for more or less all payments and carry only a little bit of cash for bus fares, street food etc. which you can draw from an ATM while you abroad. Do not use your CC to draw significant amounts of cash,either here or abroad.

    You might want to advise your card that you will be abroad between those particular dates.

    P.S. If you are offered the choice to have the card charged in USD or in GBP, always opt for Dollars. So you will benefit from the favourable exchange rate of your card.
  • grumbler
    grumbler Posts: 58,629 Forumite
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    See this MSE news: Banks axe debit card bureau de change. I guess some (most?) CCs still are charging for this.

    However, you are likely to find a better deal elsewhere rather than at Thomas Cook: TravelMoneyMax.com Find the cheapest online holiday cash
  • ppc1
    ppc1 Posts: 139 Forumite
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    Usa2012 wrote: »
    Might sound a silly question, but I have a cc that doesn't charge a fee for foreign money, and I want to get a few hundred dollars from my local thomascook before travel. I know thomascook will charge for using a cc instead of debit but will it be classed as a purchase or cash transaction/withdrawal?
    I don't know if it's best to buy using he card, or to withdraw cash and take the hit on interest for 3 days (will be paid in full as payday arrives day after flying out).


    Taking cash out at a Thomas Cook shop will show as a cash transaction not purchase.

    I have an MBNA credit card that does not charge for ATM transactions and I generally just take money out once I reach the destination airport and get currency out of an ATM. You get a much better exchange rate too!
  • dzug1
    dzug1 Posts: 13,535 Forumite
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    I suspect the law of unintended consequences says your bank will no longer charge you but that the BdeC itself may start doing so.
  • ppc1
    ppc1 Posts: 139 Forumite
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    dzug1 wrote: »
    I suspect the law of unintended consequences says your bank will no longer charge you but that the BdeC itself may start doing so.


    Yes of course some ATM providers will charge to take out local currency from their ATM's, it is often a nominal fee and you will be surprised how many countries and banking organisations do not charge a fee. I extensively travel abroad and more often than not find atms that do not charge.
  • grumbler
    grumbler Posts: 58,629 Forumite
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    ppc1 wrote: »
    Yes of course some ATM providers will charge to take out local currency from their ATM's, it is often a nominal fee and you will be surprised how many countries and banking organisations do not charge a fee. I extensively travel abroad and more often than not find atms that do not charge.
    I think "BdeC " stood for a bureau de change, not an ATM.
  • dzug1
    dzug1 Posts: 13,535 Forumite
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    grumbler wrote: »
    I think "BdeC " stood for a bureau de change, not an ATM.

    It did indeed
  • Usa2012
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I just wasn't sure if it would be treated as a purchase or not as I wanted to avoid 3-4 days of interest if treated as a cash purchase.
    I have the bulk of my money on a cash passport which I've used many times before with zero problems. Was just after some actual cash to have to hand for small payments, parking, tips etc ...
  • heloid
    heloid Posts: 472 Forumite
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    Unless you're going somewhere where you think ATMs are scarce and you'll need more than your daily allowance day 1 don't buy currency before you go on holiday.
    I usually just withdraw about £100 at the airport to start off with and worry about more later.
  • P.S. If you are offered the choice to have the card charged in USD or in GBP, always opt for Dollars. So you will benefit from the favourable exchange rate of your card.

    I thought the normal advice was the other way around - i.e. choose GBP so that the currency conversion is done at the CC end rather than the retailer who will almost certainly be worse.
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