Best way to get rid of Euros in US?

In a few days I’ll be returning to the United States from Germany with 500 Euros in cash, thanks to the security deposit on my apartment. I had thought it would be a simple matter of walking into my bank and receiving a fair exchange rate, but I recently checked online with Bank of America, and they buy Euros at $1.29/Euro, while the true exchange rate right now is about $1.37/Euro (and will probably be $1.38 by the end of next week).

This would make for a loss of about $35 for the amount I’ll be trafficking in, which is not insignificant to me since I am flat broke right now. Do I just have to swallow this “fee”, or is there a place in America that will buy my Euros at a fair rate? I’m pissed that my own bank is giving me the same rate as the (hypothetical) shady currency exchange stand on the corner.

It would be cutting it close, but I may be able to convert them in Germany before I leave. I have an German bank account open right now, with a branch around the corner.

Any Dopers have experience with this?

(Not sure if this was a GQ, since there is probably a factual answer to this, or an IMHO, since I’m soliciting Doper experiences…)

Either trade them in the bank in the US or trade them for dollars in a German bank before you leave. It’s the only way. A bank will usually give you a better rate than an exchange agent.

You’ll get a better rate for trading cash than for trading a cheque, too.

Pay them into the German bank and then do an international transfer to a US one? The fee might wipe out any savings, mind.

Where are you in Germany? I’ll buy your 500 Euros with a Bank of America check for $688 US.

Return and go to a casino they are always happy to give good exchange rates.

American Express stores will change for usually a pretty good rate; that’s what I did with my British cash when I returned from six months there. You can see if they have a branch near you.

Deposit them in the German bank, do the address change & apply for an ATM card while you are there. Once in the US, the ATM card will catch up with you (eventually) & you can withdraw money from American ATMs.

Hm, thanks for the ideas. I was hoping the Dope would turn me on to some semi-secret super-smart way to go about this, but it looks like there is no such way. I think I will try Count Blucher’s suggestion, provided my bank has an agreement with some American bank to use its ATMs for no fee. International banking is complicated! :frowning: (but it does make me feel all cool and worldly to be doing it :))

Bear_Nenno - thanks for the offer! I’m in Berlin, but in any case I think I must turn you down, as I’ll be getting the money pretty much as I’m heading out the door to the airport … and since I completely suck at getting anywhere on time trying to meet up with you (assuming you are in Berlin anyway) could be potentially disastrous… just another chapter in my life story of doing things half-assed without proper planning…

Change them at the airport or better yet, just before going to the airport (you’ll get a better rate downtown).

Getting rid of foreign currency can be damned difficult in the U.S. Hardly any banks will change it for you. Some large upscale hotels may do it…but you need to be a guest. You can do it at the airport…but you need to be a ticketed passenger as the exchange counters tend to behind the security barrier.

But if you go to the airport you may find an exchange booth in the international baggage claim and arrivals area, as I did at LAX.


One time, just for laughs, I tried depositing a Mexican 50-peso note in the ATM of my American credit union. I looked up the exchange rate and wrote out the deposit for the appropriate amount.

They didn’t accept it, and I really thought they might, though I wouldn’t have risked it with any significant amount of money.

If you go to the roof of the Empire States building, you then take each note out, fold it into the shape of a small airplane, and then with a light tossing motion pitch each airplane over the side of the building to drift down to the streets below, from which they will thence disappear shortly.


I was going to suggest something like that except I was wondering about the coins. Coins would be dangerous and impolite to throw off the ESB.

I would go to a calm body of water and skip the coins across it trying to see how many skips you can get. For the rest of it, leave it as the tip in restaurants and let the server figure out how to exchange it.

That sounds quite appealing. Why couldn’t it be a more … worthless … currency that I have to change?