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best way to change spending money

best way to change spending money

Old Aug 30, 09, 8:14 am
  #1  
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best way to change spending money

Hi, we'll be touching down in Delhi airport then going straight to Agra in a pre-arranged car in a couple of days.May I know what is the best way to get spending money? We'd be carrying about 1000USD for use during that time.Should I change at the bank counter in the airport or use the ATM after immigration? Or would it be better for us to change at the resort when we reach Agra? (we'll be staying with the Oberoi Amarvilas for 2 nights before heading back to Delhi, staying at the Imperial for another 2 nights.)


Some friends who have been advice us to change at local banks but considering the hassle of travelling into Delhi before heading out to agra and waiting in line etc, would the difference in exchange rate be substantial enough the warrant the trouble?


Please advice.Thank you.
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Old Aug 30, 09, 11:14 am
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Read this post first.

Using an ATM is the most convenient and usually the cheapest way to change money. Save the receipts in case you want to change excess local currency back into foreign currency.

Enjoy the Oberoi property at Agra. IMHO it is the best place to stay at in Agra albeit a tad bit expensive.
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Old Aug 30, 09, 12:34 pm
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Thanks, Row2aisle, for the prompt reply.
Actually, I have read that particular post you listed as well as several other before posting my question.You see, I'm totally alien to the idea of drawing cash from ATMs while overseas and my bank have just quoted me some 3% plus 3% processing fees for every such transactions . And having read this part:

<And you will probably get a rather better rate using your foreign ATM card in an indian ATM, than by using a local money changer. So it can probably wait till the next morning when you're in the city and there's no shortage of ATMs.>

and another forummer stating later in the same link that there's long queue in the one and only ATM at the airport

I was just wondering
1.If there's a big discrepency between changing from the airport bank counter and the ATM after factoring in all the alarming 'fees'?
2.If there would be any local ATM (with Cirrus function) near the Amarvilas ?

Sorry to sound so dense, but it is a last minute, whirlwind trip and thank goodness for this forum ,or else I would not have realised that the Rupee is a closed currency. Now I'm all stressed out at the thought of going around with no spending money!
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Old Aug 30, 09, 4:28 pm
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There is no shortage of ATM services in most metropolitan areas in India. Even in rural India you are likely to find banks with ATMs manned by a security guard. If there are long lines at the DEL airport for the ATM then you can always have you driver stop by an ATM location on your way out to Agra. You may find that the limit is about Rs, 10,000- Rs 20,000 per day for withdrawals but this may change from bank to bank.

I use an E*Trade ATM card and they refund me all fees charged by foreign or local banks. E*Trade does the exchange at the prevailing official currency exchange rate day on the day the transaction takes place and there is no commission charged. I find ATM withdrawals to be the cheapest for me because of the no-fee withdrawal at any ATM worldwide.

I usually avoid the currency exchange counters because of the big spread between the buy and sell rates. You can use the airport currency exchange counter in a pinch to exchange a small amount say US$100 to get you through a day or so until you find an ATM. Avoid exchanging at any hotel because you'll lose a lot in the exchange..

Last edited by ROW2Aisle; Aug 30, 09 at 4:37 pm
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Old Aug 30, 09, 5:31 pm
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ROW2Aisle is right. THere is no shortage of ATM's all over big cities in India.
You can spot one pretty easily while driving out of the airport area...your car driver should be able to find one for sure. ATM's are almost always manned by a security guard.

Also, I have always got better rates at ATM's in INdia, than by exchanging cash at a bank or money-changer.

Some bank cards do charge a fee. Mine charges 10$ or so total for a 300$ equivalent ATM withdrawal...this is still a good deal for me. YMMV.
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Old Aug 30, 09, 7:50 pm
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THanks for the solid advice, Row2Aisle and snod2.
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Old Aug 31, 09, 1:30 pm
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amex or visa travellers check are very good to carry. banks and hotels give a higher conversion rate for tcs over straight cash.

ofcourse a straight atm might be more convinient.
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Old Sep 1, 09, 6:43 pm
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ATM is the way to go.
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Old Sep 5, 09, 2:49 am
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I've never seen a queue at the DEL ATM much less a long one.
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Old Sep 6, 09, 1:31 am
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Sorry, Snod08, for getting your name wrong.Thanks all for your advice.We are now at the Sheraton lounge, delhi, waiting for departure.Indeed, ATM is the way to go. We got a hundred USD's worth of Rupee at the airport money changer , then proceeded to the ATM in town for the rest of our spending money.Do note that many of the ATMs carry only limited cash so they would go out of cash in the afternoon.
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Old Sep 6, 09, 4:58 am
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I would say the atm but if you insist on carrying that much cash an antique store might do the trick.
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Old Sep 6, 09, 3:35 pm
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No, seriously, the ATMs do 'close' in the late afternoon once their money runs out, it was not because we were over drawing.On our first day, we had a driver to drive us from Delhi airport to Agra, he dropped me at two ATMs (one Citibank, the other a local bank) on the way.The guard at the Citibank ATM told me to try again the next day, the other one was standing outside the booth and just waved us away so we didn't even get out of the car.
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Old Sep 6, 09, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by asianmom View Post
No, seriously, the ATMs do 'close' in the late afternoon once their money runs out, it was not because we were over drawing.On our first day, we had a driver to drive us from Delhi airport to Agra, he dropped me at two ATMs (one Citibank, the other a local bank) on the way.The guard at the Citibank ATM told me to try again the next day, the other one was standing outside the booth and just waved us away so we didn't even get out of the car.
It looks like many tourists read my reply to your OP and decided to follow up on my advice to use ATMs along the way to Agra depleting them of cash before you got there

Kidding aside, Delhi to Agra is perhaps the busiest tourist route in India and you're more likely to encounter ATMs out of cash on such a busy route than any other route.
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Old Sep 10, 09, 4:03 am
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ATM is typically the best way but the fees vary wildly from 1 issuing bank to another. I've been charged anywhere between 0.5% - 3%. But the rate is still better than what you will receive by changing physical money.
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Old Sep 10, 09, 4:16 am
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Originally Posted by piyush View Post
ATM is typically the best way but the fees vary wildly from 1 issuing bank to another. I've been charged anywhere between 0.5% - 3%. But the rate is still better than what you will receive by changing physical money.
Maybe we can list the banks in India (and your home bank) to show which are the cheapest, to help everyone here...
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