Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Banks & ATM's

As with any planning of a trip to a foreign country its always best to take some of that currency with you before you arrive.  In France, it's the Euro and I've found it goes quite far in Nice and the rest of the Riviera.

The rules seem to keep changing in regards to credit and debit cards every time I go so I like to make sure they are up to date and with what works in the ATM's in France.

This last time in September 2010 (and also in 2011), I made sure all of my cards had an updated chip and a new four digit PIN, as in most cases now a PIN with more than four digits won't be accepted in machines there.  

Before my trip, I contacted the banks that I use to let them know when I would be traveling, where and for how long so that they wouldn't put a hold on a card while I was away thinking someone had stolen my cards and were attempting to use them somewhere else.

It's also a good idea before you go to do some research on how much transactions and withdrawals will cost you while away to help with your financial planning.

I remember the days of the traveler's cheques and what a hassle they were, especially if you were trying to get funds for the amount you wanted, and how much those currency exchange places would take as a cut for themselves.  Now I barely see those places around Nice.

Dealing with the banks in Nice is a whole lot easier.  Most banks there are open from 10am-1pm and then from 3pm-5pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays.  My friends in Nice (along with myself) seem to prefer banking with HSBC for their service.  Barclays Bank and Banque de France I would also recommend.

For more information, their links are as follows:




ATM's are all over Nice.  Look for the symbols from Plus or Cirrus as they are part of the bigger international networks and stick with bank run ATM's for security and the best exchange/transaction deals.  You will also find that most machines give you the option on whether you want to do your transactions in French or English.

Exchange rates are more favorable if you pay with credit cards and the more you withdraw at once with your debit or credit card, the less you will have to pay in accumulating exchange/transaction type fees.

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