Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

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General Disarray
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Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by General Disarray » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:07 pm

About a month ago, I went to Bank of America to convert some foreign currency to U.S. dollars. Not all the currency were accepted, which is fine. I received credit for the other currency. Total was about $569. They credited my checking account. Today, I get a call from B of A saying that they did not accept some of the currency and that they would have to deduct about $159 from my account. I said that it was their error, not mine, and that I had spent an inordinate amount of time at B of A during the conversion process, at which time the B of A rep had spent a lot of time checking to see if they accepted the currency. They clearly did accept it, as they credited my account and I have statements to document the exchanges. And that was about a month ago. Today, the B of A rep told me to come in and pick up the rejected currency. I told her I would not pick up the currency. What would you do in this situation? The error was on B of A's part, so why should I have to be penalized?

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:53 pm

That's why we have piles of foreign currency at home. Dealing with banks on foreign currency is guaranteed to rip you off. We generally use credit cards overseas.

Our son's office, with many international travelers, has a thriving market (they call it the "midpoint market" because they get bid/offer on foreign currency from the internet, and trade at the midpoint). Fair as fair gets.

I don't have a recommendation on how to handle the current situation, other than to fight for a bit and see if they change their mind. It's tough to fight city hall.

Rwsavory
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by Rwsavory » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:59 pm

Many branch personnel are just go-betweens when it comes to foreign exchange at a bank. You're not being penalized. They are offering to return the rejected currency. I would retrieve it and move on.

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lthenderson
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by lthenderson » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:54 pm

I would expect an uphill battle to win that one. Like others, I just use credit cards with favorable conversion rates and withdraw the minimum of local currency to get by for things I can't charge. What money I have leftover I give away to a local before boarding the plane home or give away as souvenirs upon my return.

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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by denovo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:56 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:53 pm
That's why we have piles of foreign currency at home. Dealing with banks on foreign currency is guaranteed to rip you off. We generally use credit cards overseas.

Check your homeowner's policy if you care. Most have pretty low limits on how much currency is covered if stolen, it's usually around $1,000. Of course, maybe I am being too literal, so may be home you mean something secure like a bank safe.
Last edited by denovo on Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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denovo
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by denovo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:58 am

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:54 pm
Like others, I just use credit cards with favorable conversion rates and withdraw the minimum of local currency to get by for things I can't charge.
How do you get local currency?
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celia
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by celia » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:37 am

denovo wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:58 am
How do you get local currency?
When you get to the foreign country, go to an ATM that accepts your bank's ATM card (mine uses the STAR system). Your cash withdrawal will come out in local currency. Know what your maximum home withdrawal limit is and convert it to local currency so you don't spend time requesting more than your limit. (On one trip, I got close to my home country limit of $400 and kept requesting the same number of euros that varied from about $390-$398US. In one location, it suddenly refused to give me anything. I went into the foreign bank to inquire why but they had no idea. I called my home bank when they opened and asked them. They said I was trying to withdraw over my daily limit. :oops: The conversion values changed over time and I was trying to request $402.)

Note that there is likely a fixed conversion fee, like $5 for each transaction, so you would want to minimize transactions by withdrawing the most you can each time--unless you are leaving the foreign country soon.

TIAX
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by TIAX » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:05 am

celia wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:37 am
Note that there is likely a fixed conversion fee, like $5 for each transaction, so you would want to minimize transactions by withdrawing the most you can each time--unless you are leaving the foreign country soon.
Many banks do charge a foreign transaction fee (or do not reimburse international ATM fees) but, for example, Charles Schwab Bank does not charge a fee and rebates all ATM fees including foreign.

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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by AlohaJoe » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:23 am

General Disarray wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:07 pm
What would you do in this situation?
I would go collect my money.

denovo
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by denovo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:56 am

celia wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:37 am
denovo wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:58 am
How do you get local currency?
When you get to the foreign country, go to an ATM that accepts your bank's ATM card (mine uses the STAR system). Your cash withdrawal will come out

Note that there is likely a fixed conversion fee, like $5 for each transaction, so you would want to minimize transactions by withdrawing the most you can each time--unless you are leaving the foreign country soon.

I just wanted to make sure you were talking about the ATM route. I bank with B of A. They take $5 plus the 3 percent exchange rate. However, for the currency order in advance from the US, the spread was only 3 percent with no other fees, so I decided to get the currency in advance since it comes out as slightly cheaper...
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:55 am

denovo wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:56 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:53 pm
That's why we have piles of foreign currency at home. Dealing with banks on foreign currency is guaranteed to rip you off. We generally use credit cards overseas.

Check your homeowner's policy if you care. Most have pretty low limits on how much currency is covered if stolen, it's usually around $1,000. Of course, maybe I am being too literal, so may be home you mean something secure like a bank safe.
I guess "piles of foreign currency" could be misleading. I didn't mean a lot of money, but literally the piles of banknotes and change that we empty from our pockets when we get home. Pounds and Euros we use again soon, as trips to the U.K. and Europe occur regularly. DS has been in HK and will be in Japan next month, so that gets used. Other countries' currencies gather dust.

Virgin Airlines used to have a charity where you donated your foreign currency when you boarded their planes. I haven't flown Virgin in a while; perhaps they still have it.

I doubt we are above the $1000 limit total, and if a thief (or fire) wants to bother with the currency, we would be happy with $1k reimbursement.

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LiveSimple
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:11 am

The local bank sends to the currency exchange broker, hence your local bank, will not know if the currency will be accepted or not.

If it is a legit currency, then get the currency from the bank and go to a private currency exchange, they can tell you what is the issue.

Mostly over time emerging countries, phase out old currencies or you cannot write on the currency, etc. so see what is the issue. Leave the local bank, they are not foreign currency expertises, they are just a mail man, to mail your currencies to their foreign currency branch or broker.

Ask them or understand why they are rejecting. Sure there is a reason.

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lthenderson
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by lthenderson » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:09 am

denovo wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:58 am
lthenderson wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:54 pm
Like others, I just use credit cards with favorable conversion rates and withdraw the minimum of local currency to get by for things I can't charge.
How do you get local currency?
Like someone else mentioned above, I just hit up an ATM machine. However, the person above suggested knowing your home withdrawal limit converted into the local currency so you know how much to withdraw. I'm sure it is country dependent but in many of the countries I have visited, the limit of withdrawal is a lot lower than what I can withdraw back in the states. My withdrawal limit here is $300 per transaction while using the same card in several third world countries the limit was closer to $50 U.S. I would further suggest kind of getting an idea of cost of living before withdrawing large amounts of money. $50 in a third world country might last you three times as long as $300 would here in the States.

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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by livesoft » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:12 am

We have no idea about what this "local currency" is, do we? Iraqi Dinars? German Marks? Italian Lira? Venezuelan bolívars? Something counterfeit?

Sell it on E-bay and see what you get.

I have found that at least one Bank of America teller was incompetent, so that it is possible that your person accepted some shady currency. Even you may have accepted some shady currency.
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Hyperborea
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Re: Foreign Currency Conversion Accepted, then Rejected

Post by Hyperborea » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:16 pm

As has been mentioned above, use a bank account that charges no currency exchange fee when you travel. Also, as mentioned above Schwab rebates ATM fees. If you don't have a Schwab account another option is to use a Capital One money market account. They don't reimburse the ATM fee but they don't have a currency exchange fee. I've been using this for about 20 years of travel including some reasonably remote locations.

We try to keep the amount of cash we take out at a reasonable level for the trip and during the last half a week or so plan to spend down any remaining cash leaving enough for any necessary cash items. You almost never work it out perfectly but you try to keep it to a small positive delta. If it's somewhere that we will likely travel to again we hold on to it for the next trip, so we have Yen, Pounds, Euros, and Canadian dollars in envelopes at home. If it's somewhere that we really have no definite plans to return to soon and the amount is small (always has been because of planning to spend it down) then we either give it to one of the charity collection boxes at the airport or give it to kids in the family. The kids often find the foreign currency pretty cool.

As to getting rid of the current batch of currency, how about taking it to the currency exchange service directly yourself? If not now then how about next time you fly out taking it to the service at the airport? The rate will be horrible but at least you will get something for it.
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