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Exchanging money
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Questions answered on this page:
  • What is Ireland's currency?
  • What is the best way to exchange dollars in to Euros?
  • What extra fees might show up on my charge card?.
  • When is it best to use Travel Checks?.
The Republic of Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU) In 2002, the euro was implemented as the common currency for most EU member countries. For the traveler, this means one can move from many EU countries to the next with out stopping to exchange currency. But, not all EU countries have adopted the euro as their currency. In the case of Northern Ireland, many stores at the border will accept payment in euros but the official currency is the pound. Northern Ireland prints its own pound sterling based on the British pound. One can use British currency in Northern Ireland but do not expect the Irish pound to be readily accepted in Britain.
Euro Money can be found in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500-euro notes.

Euro Coins start with the 1-cent piece and end with the 2 euro piece.

The denomination sides of euro coins are the same in all EU currency countries. The image on the face side of the coin varies correspondingly to the EU country that released the coin in to circulation.

Best way to exchange money:
In the past the best place to exchange money was a bank ATM machine but some banks are now adding a 3% fee on to foreign ATM withdrawals. If you plan to use ATMs in Ireland make certain your bankcard is of the four PIN number type. Most ATMs in Ireland are compatible with the Cirrus or Plus system; if you have any doubts about the usability of your ATM card, contact your bank prior to leaving. You might also want to ask your bank about their fees for international exchanges at ATMs.

When arriving at the airport, Combo/Exchange windows are very easy to find. As usual we had to look a little harder to find the Bank ATM machines, which we eventually found in the lobby area at the Dublin's International Airport.

Banks are generally the best place to go to exchange cash into euros.

Credit Cards are another way to exchange money in Spain, either through withdrawing cash or by making a purchase. It is a good idea to check your credit card's bank policy for international exchanges fees and cash money withdrawals fees. Even with fees, Credit Card purchases usually (but not always) provide a better rate of exchange than a street cambio (exchange) vendor. Note - there are two levels of fees, VISA and MASTER card charge a 1% fee on all transactions but some banks then add their own 1-3% fee. There are banks that charge no additional fees for credit cards use over seas, it is these no additional charge banks you want to get a credit card from.

In Ireland I encountered, for the first time, restaurants and a car rental company providing (but not asking first) credit card bills in US dollars. Usually, it was presented as saving me the credit card fees associated with a euro credit card transaction. In fact the restaurants and rental company made the conversion to US dollars at such a high exchange, it cost me money. In the case of the car rental, it cost me $30 more for the rental than if I had paid in euros.

Travelers Checks - In these days of ATM's and credit cards, Traveler Checks are not very usefully. If the Traveler Checks are in the currency of the country you are visiting, you might find they are accepted by individual stores, but even this is become rare. As back up money for emergencies, Traveler Checks may still have a roll. The best place to cash or exchange Travelers checks are in the offices of the company that issued them, American Express, Thomas Cook, etc. Finding Branch offices of the issuing Travelers Check is not always convenient if not at times impossible. Banks will cash Traveler Checks for an addtional fee.

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The information on this page was gather during my families July 2004 visit to Ireland

This page last updated March 2007