By Debbie Shelton
SVP, West Wabash Avenue Branch, NMLS #662907
When heading to a foreign country, it’s wise to take along enough of that country’s money to get you through the first day. You don’t want to arrive after a long flight and have to spend time tracking down local currency before you can get a ride to your hotel.
Get cash in advance
Travel experts advise taking along at least enough local cash for a cab ride, a couple meals and the cost of one night’s hotel stay. This will give you time to locate the best place to handle your currency exchanges.
To get that cash before heading out, visit INB’s West Wabash Branch Monday through Friday. At this location only, we offer foreign currency sales for the:
• British Pound
• Canadian Dollar
• Chinese Yuan
• European /Euro
• Mexican Peso (Buyback not available)
• Japanese Yen
We charge INB customer $15 to make the exchange; noncustomers, $30. You’ll find other details on our website.
Use the ATM machine
Once you’ve rested up from traveling, it’s time to look at getting the cash you’ll need for your adventures. The most economical way for INB debit card customers to get local money in a foreign country is by using ATM machines.
Another option is your INB credit card, but I don’t recommend this because the money you’re exchanging for is treated as a cash advance. A cash advance on an INB credit card costs 4 percent right off the top, with immediate interest — there’s no grace period.
1. Know the exchange rate before you leave home. A number of websites, like www.xe.com, offer this information. Bookmark a site on your smart phone.
2. Avoid exchanging currency at airports or near tourist sites. While conveniently located, they offer the least favorable exchange rates.
3. Don’t use your debit card for purchases… only for cash from the ATM!
4. Avoid using exchange services altogether. Whenever possible, use your ATM card, a bank or a post office when you need cash.
5. For large purchases, it’s okay to use your credit card. While most card companies charge a foreign-transaction fee of between 1 and 3 percent, this is still the safest and cheapest way to pay.
6. Try to spend all your cash before you leave the country, unless you want it as a souvenir. You don’t usually get a favorable rate in another country. What you can’t spend, you can donate at the airport to a local charity. Or send it to the United States Fund for UNICEF. If you got your currency from INB before you began your travels, we will buyback all currency, except the Mexican Peso, at the prevailing exchange rate.