Re: More on Cash and Taxis in Poland
From: Dan Oren (dorenjewishheritagepoland.org)
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2018 03:47:50 -0700 (PDT)
Dear Fritz,

I appreciate the dialogue, as different people have different experiences and it is healthy to consider different viewpoints in making decisions.

From my personal experience living in Poland for more than nine months, I never found the net exchange rates (buying Zlotys) to be significantly worse at the KANTOR than the net rate for withdrawing Zlotys from an ATM card at a bank-owned ATM. (If changing $100 into Zlotys cost me $1 more at one versus the other, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it.) Since my home bank charges me a small service fee when I withdraw cash from another bank, it all came out about the same in the end. Withdrawing money from a credit card (an advance) usually comes with a stiff fee, however, and I would avoid that if possible. As you hint, American credit cards now generally are embedded with security chips comparable to European cards.

The basic point I was making was that KANTORs (excluding those at the airports) and bank-owned ATMs in Poland were both reliable and “fair” methods that I made use of to obtain Zlotys, and I heartily recommend those methods to others.

Of course, each of us should check with our own home financial institutions to understand what fees are involved with our transactions.

My final point on this topic is that while each of us surely doesn’t want to be taken advantage of financially, for many of us convenience will have value as well. If paying a Euro or a pound or a dollar or a few shekels extra is the price of convenience occasionally, especially in a country whose ways or procedures are new to us or whose language we don’t speak, it may well be worth the small expense.

Enjoy the train ride from Germany to Warsaw. The train is such a civilized way to travel as compared to the hassles of airport security lines and the overcrowded conditions aboard most airplanes!

See you in Warsaw,

Dan

Dear Dan, 
I do not think that the following sentence is correct: 

?"Differences in exchange rates between Kantors and bank-owned ATMS 
(Bankomats) are usually negligible." 

Because the rate you get, when you change bank notes at a changing booth 
(which these Kantor places seem to be) is always much worse than the 
rate you get when you use electronic transfers. But also, the rate you 
get through credit cards is the same electronic rate, but usually the 
credit card people charge a lot for withdrawing cash. The best solution 
is to withdraw money from your bank account through an ATM (like the 
Pekao one shown) if your card allows that - the European Union bank 
cards will work, but I do not know about American bank cards, because 
European bank cards work through chips, and American credit cards used 
to work by sliding the card through some apparatus. this probably will 
not work, You better ask your bank about that. I any case, it is always 
wise to carry some amount of local currency on you, when you land in a 
country with a different currency, e. g. for the taxi ride from the 
airport or the railway station, yes, there are reasonable trains and for 
the first time, I will be able to take the train to the Conference, 
since our town is on the direct railway line from Paris to Moscow (via 
Berlin and Warsaw), isn't that a treat? 

Fritz Neubauer, North Germany 

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