Using ATMS and credit cards are the safest and simplest ways to access money in Europe.
The American Plus, Maestro, Cirrus and Star networks can be accessed from ATMS of banks across Europe. You will get the bank exchange rate when you withdraw local currency.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE US
- Inform your bank that you will be in Europe for the next few months. Otherwise your cards will be blocked when you try to use them in Europe.
- Get a four-digit PIN from your bank.
- Get the customer service contact telephone number for your bank to call from the UK and any countries you plan on visiting
- Get online banking so you can manage your money
- Write down the details of your cards so that you can cancel them quickly and easily if they are lost or stolen
- Get a credit card if you do not already have one. You will need one when purchasing flights or making hotel bookings. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Europe. American Express is less widely accepted, however cardholders can take advantage of the services offered by the American Express offices in most European cities. Please also ensure that you have a 4 digit PIN number for your card – you often have to type this into a keypad when making purchases.
You might bring some travellers cheques as an emergency fund in case your ATM cards are lost or stolen, however do not plan to use them as a means of managing your money on a daily basis as many banks no longer exchange them. The best known traveller’s cheques are American Express and VISA.
The fastest way to get money transferred is via Western Union-Money in Minutes. This can be done online or over the telephone from the US (1-800-325-6000) and you can pay with a Credit or Debit Card. There is no charge to receive funds; all you need is some ID to pick up the money anywhere in the world. For further information and details on charges look at www.westernunion.com.
Please don’t carry around large sums of cash. If it is lost or stolen, there is no way to replace it and it is not covered by insurance. However, you should always make sure to have a small amount of cash (£20) on hand for emergencies.