The Best Way to Buy Euros in the USA: Monito's Insider Tips for Exchange, Fees, and Travel in 2022

Mar 3, 2022
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Perhaps more than any other region in the world, Europe has transitioned to cashless payment systems. While cash may remain useful for small-town bus systems, corner stores, or tipping, most vendors of all kinds across all sectors in the Eurozone accept digital payment.

This is why the experts at Monito will walk you through why going digital is the best way to get euros in the US before your trip. As the world opens up again in 2022 after a global pandemic, say goodbye to the conventional advice of going to an American big bank or a credit union to exchange your dollars for euros.

In this guide, we will see that the cheapest option is also one of the most convenient ones.

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Save on Travel With Wise

Never suffer from weak exchange rates when you load euros on your Wise multi-currency debit card from the USA. Spend euros at vendors and withdraw cash from ATMs like a local on your travels to Europe.

The Best Way to Get Euros Before Your Trip

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While travel cards range widely by type and fee structure, Monito has found multi-currency cards to be far and away the best way to actually hold euros and spend them in the Eurozone like any other local. This can be done in the comfort of your home. Wise and Revolut are among the best in their industry and are both available to customers in the United States.

How the Wise Multi-Currency Card Works

The Wise Multi-Currency Account offers multi-currency debit cards to customers for free when they sign up. Your card should be shipped to you for free within three weeks, so plan this ahead of your trip if possible:

  1. Link your US bank account details to the multi-currency account;
  2. Top up US dollars into the account online or by mobile app;
  3. Convert your dollars into euros at the real mid-market rate;
  4. Pay an industry-low fee per conversion;
  5. Use your card in the Eurozone with no foreign fees.

Avoiding Fees When Buying Euros in the US

When you convert your US dollars into a foreign currency, such as the euro, foreign exchange service providers will charge you two kinds of fees:

  1. Exchange Rate Margin: Providers apply an exchange rate that is poorer than the true "mid-market" exchange rate. They keep the difference, called an exchange rate margin.
  2. Commission Fee: This fee is usually a percentage of the amount converted, which is charged for the service provided.

Travel credit cards are solid options. But even if you have a travel credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees, Visa and Mastercard's exchange rate does not perfectly match the mid-market rate. Each time you spend money abroad, you may not be spending as efficiently as if you were holding actual euros.

Let's see how two multi-currency options reduce these fees:

Wise

Unlike banks, credit unions, airport kiosks, and foreign ATMs, Wise is transparent about never charging a hidden exchange rate margin when you convert your dollars into euros (and 51 other currencies) with them. The live rate you see on Google or XE.com is the one you get with Wise. An industry-low commission fee will range from 0.35% to 2.85%. USD to EUR transfers generally incur a 1.6% fee.

Revolut

Revolut also applies the live exchange rate but adds a markup on weekends. Commission-free conversions are limited by an allowance for its standard customers. That allowance increases if you upgrade memberships.

Where to Buy Euros in the US

While getting euros in cash is cheapest if you use your debit card at an ATM in Europe, you have several options to get euros in the US before your trip.

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1. Money Transfer Service

Some money transfer services offer cash pickup and cash delivery to customers. They will charge an exchange rate margin and a commission fee for the transfer. However, they specialize in this kind of service so their rates will usually not be as weak as those offered by banks, credit unions, or airport kiosks.

While Monito recommends using digital services with mobile wallets, like Wise, traditional money transfer services offer a brick-and-mortar alternative. MoneyGram is a popular and reasonable option for USD to EUR exchanges:

2. Bank or Credit Union

Despite commonly heard advice, credit unions and banks have become outdated money transfer providers. New companies are offering innovative ways to obtain foreign money cheaply and digitally.

We found that America First Credit Union was converting $1 USD into 0.85019 Euros even though the mid-market exchange rate was at $1 USD = 0.90201 Euros*.

*Exchange rates recorded on 3 March 2022 11:27 CEST.

3. Airport Bureaux de Change

Bureaux de change at airports in the United States is convenient for last-second exchanges before you head off on your travels. They charge huge exchange rate margins and hefty commission fees. They should be avoided at all costs.

If you need euros in cash for your travels, Monito recommends that you withdraw cash from an ATM in Europe. The exchange rate margins will almost certainly be smaller, and the cash withdrawal fee charged by the ATM should amount to a minor inconvenience of €2 to €5.

How To Purchase Euros Online in the US

The multi-currency account offered by Wise remains the best way to convert your US dollars into euros and hold euros digitally for your travels.

Foreign exchange services do run online platforms, however, which you may use to purchase Euros. Some offer travel cards while others offer cash pickup or delivery.

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Travelex

One such provider is Travelex, a worldwide bureaux de change found in airports around the world. The dollar to euro exchange rate is usually better online, which will give you more euros for your US dollars. They have a travel card, which you can use to hold several currencies at once.

Frequently Asked Questions About Where to Buy Euros in the US

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