Travelling outside of the Euro area

  • 2 January 2023
  • 8 replies
  • 244 views

Hi everyone!

Coming from France, I’m planning a trip to Northern Europe where most of the countries I crave to visit are not part of the Euro area (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and the UK).

Do you have any feedback or past experience(s) when it comes to the best - thus cheapest - option to ‘decrease’ commission fees and other monetary fees?

Thanks in advance,

Eve


8 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

I have a Revolut card that has no commission on exchanges on weekdays and 0.5% commission on weekends (a typical credit card has around 2%). The basic card is free, apart from a one time fee to order a physical card. It's basically a prepaid debit card. I use it for all my purchases in other currencies that euro and I load money on it via my credit card (in euro).

There may be similar cards on the French market, so try to google a bit. Revolut should also work for you.

For the countries you mention, you indeed don't need to get cash. In Norway, we only needed cash once and that was because the card machine was broken, so I then got cash from a nearby ATM using my Revolut card (you can withdraw up to €200 without commission with the free card).

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

I have a Revolut card that has no commission on exchanges on weekdays and 0.5% commission on weekends (a typical credit card has around 2%). The basic card is free, apart from a one time fee to order a physical card. It's basically a prepaid debit card. I use it for all my purchases in other currencies that euro and I load money on it via my credit card (in euro).

There may be similar cards on the French market, so try to google a bit. Revolut should also work for you.

For the countries you mention, you indeed don't need to get cash. In Norway, we only needed cash once and that was because the card machine was broken, so I then got cash from a nearby ATM using my Revolut card (you can withdraw up to €200 without commission with the free card).

 

If you transfer currency within the app to the currency you wish to use on a weekday there won’t be the .5% commission and you can then use this balance at weekends without the charge.

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

No need of changing any Swedish “Krona”. Cash is extinct in Sweden. Everyone uses cards and many shops don´t even accept cash anymore.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

No worries. I studied in Norway 10 years ago, lived there for half a year and never needed cash. Not even for the station lockers. I always payed by debet card (but I have a just a tiny commission fee at my bank). Same for Sweden and Denmark.

In the UK you need a bit more cash to be safe, but most can be done without cash too.

Just bring a some cash (in EUR) if you travel through Germany, although it improved since COVID, it’s quite a cash heavy country that will be difficult to avoid on your route :).

Thanks for the Revolut tip btw, guys. Learned something new!

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

I have no experience of French banking charges but in the UK we have a number of credit cards that allow fee free use in other currency areas.

 

If you use credit or debit cards the advice is to always have the charge added in the local currency so the conversion is done by your own provider - avoids rip off exchange rates and fees by the retailer and their provider.

I usually take a small amount of my home currency and change it to the local currency for small shop items (Coffee and cakes or bar drinks.)

Obviously pay off any credit card charges ASAP to avoid excess interest.

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Check the rates provided by your bank/credit card provider.

If they are not great there are newer app based banks that provide interbank exchange rates or near, Revolut and N24 seem to be the most popular ones here but there are others, you would of course have to sign up for these and get them to send you a debit card.

 

Always refuse the offer to charge you in your currency from ATMs and card terminals, you are then accepting whatever terrible exchange rate the operator of these devices sets. Choose local currency and it is your card provider’s rate you pay.

 

As always with any financial product, read all the terms carefully and beware any sign-up fees, charges for ancillary services or debts, etc.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Was also in NO and SE last summer and can confirm: noone there uses cash-even sums like 20 cts are paid by card. I simply have an old-style VISA and they sent me a mail every time out of €-stating markups of like 1,4 or 1,5%. That is in fact often less as what a tipical exchange charges you-SE used to have a quite good such office, but also seemed to have gone. I have never bothered to get that revolut etc. THis, a little bit less, also holds for DK.

IE-the republic uses the €!! Perhaps look in your purse-there may be a coin with that harp on in it!

My few old Svenska kronor kept from last visit also turned out to be not valid anymore-replaced by smaller lighter coins. So yes-as such, there still is real money.

Thank you for all your kind pieces of advice ! It’s starting to make more sense now, banking stuff is just so confusing…..

I will look more thoroughly into Revolut and N26 and ask further questions to their customer service (:

I’ll be sure to keep some extra euros just in case.

Thanks again !

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