Buying dollars: how and where to get dollars?

Buying dollars: how and where to get dollars?

Buying dollars: where to get cash dollars?

To obtain dollars, several solutions are available to you:


  • Buy dollars in a bureau de change or a physical bank (= your usual banking establishment).

Physical banks charge exchange rates and commissions that are not to your advantage. Currency exchange offices are therefore more competitive than banking institutions. However, do not choose an exchange office located at the airport. The latter apply much higher exchange rates than those open in town!


Buying dollars: how and where to get dollars?

  • Order them on the site of a bureau de change. 

Ordering your dollars on the internet is interesting insofar as the online exchange offices apply less costs. Among the brands offering this service, you can find: Comptoir Change Opera, Travelex or Yes-Change.

  • Withdrawal from an automatic teller machine (ATM in France and ATM in the USA). 

If you decide to withdraw money from an ATM directly in New York, a charge will apply. These fees are of two kinds: transaction fees which correspond to the fees applied by your bank for withdrawals from a third-party bank located abroad and those for using the ATM. In general, these cost of using are between $ 2,5 and $ 3, but note that these fees are specific to ATM. Before withdrawing, therefore consider looking at the user fees put in place; they are always indicated.



Important note : to avoid transaction fees, you can use the carte Cash Passport de Travelex. And in order not to be taxed by the ATM, the only way is to use one that does not charge a fee. To do this, you must have a card from an American bank and therefore have opened an account in the USA.

Changing euros into dollars: when is the best time to make this exchange?

Before changing your euros into dollars, the first rule to know is that the exchange between these two currencies is unfavorable to the euro in the USA. To benefit from a better rate, it is therefore preferable to change your euros into dollars on European territory.

Regarding the best time to change your euros, it is impossible to give you a precise time, because the foreign exchange market is constantly evolving.

How to pay in New York: in cash or by credit card?

Advantages and disadvantages of the bank card

As mentioned at the beginning, in New York you can almost pay from anywhere with your bank card. On the other hand, even if this method of payment is very practical, your bank will will charge a fee every time you use your credit card to pay. To avoid these charges, it is therefore better to withdraw a certain amount of money. You will be taxed only once and not for each payment.


If you absolutely want to use your bank card to pay in New York, there are however alternatives to limit the costs. Among them is the use of the Cash Passport card from Travelex which you can credit the amount of your choice. Once credited, you will be able to pay for your purchases and withdraw money free of charge.


Advantages and disadvantages of cash

If you want to pay everything in cash during your trip, it is important to estimate beforehand how much you will need from the start (necessary to pay for the taxi, for example). It is always necessary to have cash with you upon arrival!


Once in New York, you can withdraw money from an automatic teller machine (ATM). Remember that bank charges are applied for withdrawals (remember to check this condition with your bank before leaving). You will also have to pay a fee for using the ATM. That is why it is advisable to remove as much as possible in one go to limit recurring costs.

Buying dollars: how and where to get dollars?

It should be noted : if you are traveling with more than $ 10 in cash, you will have to declare it to the customs authorities as soon as you arrive in the United States (this condition also applies if you are traveling with this sum, but in another currency).

Don't forget to factor tips into your budget!

Tips are common in New York. In general, between 15% and 20% of the sum of the bill are left as tips. So don't forget to take them into account when withdrawing your cash.

As you can see, several solutions are put in place to buy dollars. Once in New York, you also have the option of paying using different means of payment (credit card and cash). Before choosing this or that solution, take into account their advantages and disadvantages. And don't forget to check with your bank about the bank charges applied for international withdrawals and payments. This will prevent you from unpleasant surprises.


Here is other useful information for your trip:

  • How to apply for ESTA?
  • What is the price to pay for your ESTA application?
  • Do you need a VISA for New York?
  • New York budget: how much to budget for a week?
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