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Best cards for getting euros

The Best Way to Get Euros in the USA in 2023

Jarrod Suda

Guide

Byron Mühlberg

Reviewer

Jun 20, 2023
Advertiser disclosure

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. 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 why Wise, one of the cheapest option to buy foreign currency, is also one of the most convenient.

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Avoid Dollar to Euro FX Fees With Wise

If you want to buy and hold Euros while still in the United States, consider Wise as your travel card. Get the real exchange rate from the US when you load euros on your multi-currency account (for an industry-low fixed fee).

Key Facts About How to Get Euros in the US

As you prepare for your trip to Europe, save money when you get euros and explore other services to enhance your travel experience.

💳 Cards compared

RevolutWise & 53 others

🔎 Features compared

ATM fees, FX rates, app & more

💶 Best way to get euros
💱 Currency accounts

Euros (€) and 50 others

💵 USD-EUR FX markup

0%

💰 Fixed service fee

0.3%-2%

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What's the Best Way to Spend Euros While On My Trip?

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While preparing for a vacation in Europe, many travellers enjoy holding cash euros in hand while in the United States prior to their flight. Whether you exchange your dollars for euros at a bank, credit union, or bureaux de change, these methods are actually neither the most cost-effective or most convenient ways to get euros in the US.

We have found that credit and debit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees are by far the cheapest ways to spend while you travel. This is because the exchange rate that MasterCard or Visa applies to your card purchases is negligibly small — about 0.2% weaker than the real mid-market exchange rate.

In contrast, if you had spent cash euros that were exchanged by an American bank, then you may have suffered from an exchange rate around 5% weaker than the real exchange rate.

Revolut

Revolut is a multi-currency account that allows you to hold reserves of foreign currency. When you spend your Euros in Europe, merchants and ATMs will treat your card like a local card.

Revolut charges no foreign transaction fees on the first €1,000 spent per month and no ATM fees on the first €1,200 per month, though fair use limits, weekend surcharges, and third-party ATM charges may apply. This policy is miles more generous than those of competitors such as WiseMonzo, and Monese. If you're in a rush, you'll still be able to access Revolut's instant virtual card from the app and add it to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other third-party digital wallets.

What's the Best Card For Getting Euros in the US?

Compare American debit cards Juno and Chime®, which have no foreign transaction fees, with multi-currency cards Wise and Revolut, which allow you to hold multiple foreign currencies on one debit card.

Juno

Chime

Wise

Revolut

Top-Up Fee

0

0

3.14

0

Exchange Rate Margin

0.0021

0.0022

Approx. 0.35%

0 - 1.00%

Foreign Transaction Fee

0

0

0

0

Purchasing Power

€708.62

€708.55

€707.21

€709.50

Go to Juno ❯Go to Chime ❯Go to Wise ❯Go to Revolut ❯

Rates recorded on 22 June 2022, CEST 16:30

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 is an excellent choice for a multi-currency card because it also applies the live exchange rate. It adds a markup on weekends. Commission-free conversions are limited by a $1,000 per month allowance for its standard customers. That allowance increases if you upgrade memberships. It has a very generous ATM withdrawal allowance of $1,200 per month without fees too.

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 Revolut and 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*.

We generally recommend against getting Euros from your traditional bank or credit union.

*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 Buy Euros Online for Delivery in the USA

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 physical Euros. Some offer travel cards while others offer cash pickup or delivery.

Jarrod Suda Interlaken Switzerland view of mountains and lake

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.

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Avoid Currency Conversion Fees With Wise

Wise's multi-currency account and travel card is a reliable option for avoiding currency conversion fees. Withdraw up to $100 per month without being charged ATM usage fees.

Plus, by loading Euros onto your Wise Card prior to your trip to Europe, vendors and merchants will assume you have a local bank account when you present your card. The machine will never apply exchange rate margins nor will it ask you to do a dynamic currency conversion.

Frequently Asked Questions About Where to Get Euros in the US

References Used In This Guide

Disclaimers

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

¹ Out-of-network ATM withdrawal and over-the-counter advance fees may apply. See here for details.

² To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

³ The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change anytime. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 20, 2023. No minimum balance is required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

⁴ On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Results may vary.

⁵ SpotMe® on Credit is an optional, no-interest/no-fee overdraft line of credit tied to the Secured Deposit Account available to qualifying members with an active Chime Credit Builder Account. SpotMe on Debit is an optional, no-fee overdraft service attached to the Chime Checking Account available to qualifying members after Visa debit card activation. Both SpotMe on Credit and SpotMe on Debit are sometimes collectively referred to as "SpotMe" or, if you have signed up to use SpotMe with only one account, "SpotMe" means the elected service. To qualify for SpotMe, you must receive $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your Chime Checking Account monthly. Qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their Chime Checking Account and/or Secured Deposit Account (associated with your Chime Credit Builder credit card) up to $20 but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on Chime account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. The SpotMe limit will be displayed within the Chime mobile app and is subject to change at any time, at Chime’s sole discretion. Although Chime does not charge any overdraft fees for SpotMe, there may be out-of-network or third-party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe Debit Terms and Conditions and SpotMe on Credit Terms and Conditions.

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