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My First Euros

12 Jun

My First Euros Another step closer. I exchanged some dollars for euros today at a local bank. Here is a one-euro coin, two 2-euro coins, and a 20 euro note. Another photo shows the metallic strip on the note which shines in the camera flash. The paper money is quite pretty and has a map of the European continent on the back.

DSC_0233

Euro to Dollar Conversion

26 Apr
Important stuff to know before I leave.

  Euro   to    Dollar Conversion Table

Euro   Euro € 1 € 5 € 10 € 50 € 100 € 200 € 500
American Dollar   Dollar $ 1.3 $ 6.52 $ 13.04 $ 65.21 $ 130 $ 261 $ 652
$1.3041 per Euro rate on Thu, 25 April, 2013
American Dollar   Dollar $ 5 $ 25 $ 50 $ 250 $ 500 $ 1000 $ 2500
Euro   Euro € 3.83 € 19.17 € 38.34 € 192 € 383 € 767 € 1917
€0.7668 per Dollar rate on Thu, 25 April, 2013

I’ll Have Some Fraud with My Groceries

24 Apr

Last week I went out to lunch for a salad at the local soup and salad chain, one of my favorite spots that has free wi-fi. As usual I pulled out my debit card to pay and was shocked when the cashier told me it was “no good”. Fortunately, I had cash with me, so I still was able to purchase my salad. I felt very uneasy, because I knew there was no good reason for my card to be rejected.

When I returned home, I immediately checked my account online and found nothing suspicious or extraordinary. Next I called my credit union to find out what the problem was.  It was fraud, or potential fraud in my case. There had been many news reports of late about the local supermarket chain Schnucks and their accounts that had been hacked.  Many customers had found fraudulent charges on their accounts. Some of those were my university students. I had not had any problems, though I did my regular grocery shopping at Schnucks. The cashiers there had assured me that the problem had been resolved. But it was not resolved. My account was compromised along with a million others, 7,000 at my credit union alone. Another big problem was lack of notification. We didn’t learn about our compromised accounts until our cards were rejected. I also lost my credit card. Whenever I tried to go to the credit union to replace my debit card, the parking lot was filled to overflowing with other customers already there for the same reason. Well, yesterday I finally got in and succeeded in acquiring a new card. Yay, me! The personal banking rep told me that the Schnucks problem still was not corrected and that any future shopping there should be done with a check or cash transaction. Not good.

This is not just a rant. I began to think, what if that happens when I’m in Europe? I have only a debit card and one credit card, and this fraud killed them both with one blow. I will receive a replacement credit card in about week, but that is not good enough. Yesterday I went online to research the best credit cards for travel and found one highly recommended. I applied, got approved, and now I will have a back up credit card when I am abroad. Two are better than one. If one gets shot down, I still have another to get by.

Dealing with money while traveling has certainly changed since the last time I was in Europe in 1975.  Back then the standard was to carry travelers’ checks, and I thought that was still a good idea. My travel savvy daughter and her husband informed me otherwise. They said that only certain designated places would cash travelers’ checks and then did it only for a large fee. That second credit card was looking better and better.

On the bright side with the advent of the Euro I won’t have to deal with changing currency each time I cross a border. What is a Euro anyway? I haven’t looked to determine its value in relation to the American dollar. I’ll catch on once I get there. I still remember the five Swiss francs or the 600 lire valuations to the dollar in the 1970’s. There was a different math and accounting in each country. Well, I welcome the simplicity which comes with the Euro.

This has been a learning experience and hopefully a prevention from money problems when I cross the pond.

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