foreign currency purchase

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Jul 10, 2019
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#1
Last May I purchased British pounds from my local US Bank. When I tried to use them in England I was told they were "old" currency and not acceptable. I went to several banks and could not exchange them and finally had to go to a currency exchange and pay a fee to get "new" notes. When I returned I contacted US Bank and they told me they use an "outside" company for foreign currency and could do nothing. The fee I paid was small, but I am upset that whoever gave us the pounds did not know about "old" currency or DID know and gave them to us anyway. I think travelers need to be aware of this issue.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#3
Last May I purchased British pounds from my local US Bank. When I tried to use them in England I was told they were "old" currency and not acceptable. I went to several banks and could not exchange them and finally had to go to a currency exchange and pay a fee to get "new" notes. When I returned I contacted US Bank and they told me they use an "outside" company for foreign currency and could do nothing. The fee I paid was small, but I am upset that whoever gave us the pounds did not know about "old" currency or DID know and gave them to us anyway. I think travelers need to be aware of this issue.
Have you gone to your local branch where this purchase occurred and spoken in person with the branch manager? They need to address this at your branch and not tell you " they use an "outside" company for foreign currency and could do nothing."
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#4
Last May I purchased British pounds from my local US Bank. When I tried to use them in England I was told they were "old" currency and not acceptable. I went to several banks and could not exchange them and finally had to go to a currency exchange and pay a fee to get "new" notes. When I returned I contacted US Bank and they told me they use an "outside" company for foreign currency and could do nothing. The fee I paid was small, but I am upset that whoever gave us the pounds did not know about "old" currency or DID know and gave them to us anyway. I think travelers need to be aware of this issue.
Are you referring to May 2018 or 2019. When did you try to use the notes?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/busines...l-cease-legal-tender-march-2018-bank-england/
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Ah yes the change of the UK 10 and 5 pound notes. The 20 is still the same. I had some old notes and was able to convince the UK bank under the same international umbrella of my local bank to exchange the notes after showing my debit card. The 5 note was changed in 2017 and no one would accept the old ones in July 2017. The new 10 note came out I think late 2017.

Otherwise in the link weihlac showed one could go to the Bank of England and do it for free— but what a hassle.

The bank should not be using such a shoddy outside vendor — this is being inept.

Most people use atm at arrival rather than deal with banks.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#7
I usually use Travelex to get a hundred dollars or so in local currency before I travel, so I don't have to use the over-priced ATMs in the foreign airport. Travelex is more convenient than my bank because they have a kiosk in a local mall, and are open on the weekends.
 
May 1, 2018
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#8
so I don't have to use the over-priced ATMs in the foreign airport.
Bank-owned cash machines (i.e. not independent ones) in the UK don't charge fees. Your bank may charge you a fee for a foreign transaction, but that's hardly the cash machine's fault.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#9
I go to my local Chase branch and order at least $200 in Euros & British Sterling prior to leaving the states. What I do not want to do is hunt up an ATM machine in the airport after coming off an International flight from the West Coast of the US. I’m pooped I just want to get bags and get to the hotel. Now I have money in my pocket and I’m good to go.
 
Aug 29, 2018
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#10
If you travel with any regularity -- just hold on to some pocket change when you leave. Generally, when currency is updated, there is notice; you shouldn't run the risk of it expiring if you travel often enough.

But yeah, if you need to exchance currency in the US prior to the trip (or are a foreigner visiting the US) US banks are the worst place to do it. Fees are absurd, rates are poor.
 
Nov 30, 2018
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#11
I want to thank everyone who has posted here. I have not traveled to the U.K. and had no idea about the possibility of getting expired currency. Yikes!
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#12
I want to thank everyone who has posted here. I have not traveled to the U.K. and had no idea about the possibility of getting expired currency. Yikes!
One should NOT receive expired currency from a US bank. This was clearly an error on the part of the bank that the bank is not willing to own. If you have the old currency you can exchange it for new bills at the Bank of England.
 
Likes: JVillegirl541
Nov 30, 2018
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#14
One should NOT receive expired currency from a US bank. This was clearly an error on the part of the bank that the bank is not willing to own. If you have the old currency you can exchange it for new bills at the Bank of England.
I absolutely agree with you! I just don't want extra hassle, no matter where it comes from. BTW, l have traveled internationally in the 21st century. Lucky me, no problems. Reading here to try and avoid problems ahead of time.
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#15
I absolutely agree with you! I just don't want extra hassle, no matter where it comes from. BTW, l have traveled internationally in the 21st century. Lucky me, no problems. Reading here to try and avoid problems ahead of time.
These forums can "save the bacon" for many travelers, esp airline, passport, rental car, hotel issues. Unfortunately few read here before the problems arise when reading before traveling would make their travels much less stressful.

I will admit getting "expired" bank notes from a bank is a new one for me. I thought I had heard everything, but guess not. US banknotes do not "expire" fortunately.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
The new banknotes in the UK are the polymer notes — which feel completely different — very slick— Canada has them too. They are harder to forge.

What was annoying about the UK is that the different denominations came out at different times — first the 5 in 2017 then the 10 in late 2017 but the 20 not until next year— but for a currency vendor in 2019 to give bills that expired in 2018 is ridiculous— and the bank being so lackadaisical is just amateur hour.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,210
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Maui Hawaii
#17
The more I read about this issue the more absurd it becomes. To quote a popular internet meme "I have not seen this level of stupidity/incompetence in many a year". Providing expired currency is beyond absurd.

If your local branch manager will not deal with the issue, I would run this up the US Bank contact list without threatening anything, but if they were not responsive I would email my local paper, the NYT, the local TV news station and the Federal Banking Commission (I have a problem with my bank. How do I file a complaint against it?

https://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/credit_12666.htm)

You were not buying milk, but banknotes. Saying they outsource to another company does not cut it.
 
Apr 3, 2016
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#18
When you exchanged money at a bank, they are supposed to give you legal tender. The notes they gave you are not legal tender. You could explain that to the local bank manager in those terms (use the term not legal tender). If not, contact USBank via the contacts on this site and ask for reimbursement of any fees/costs you encountered (either in the US or Britian). It is not acceptable for a bank to give out not legal tender.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,697
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www.promalvacations.com
#19
When you exchanged money at a bank, they are supposed to give you legal tender. The notes they gave you are not legal tender. You could explain that to the local bank manager in those terms (use the term not legal tender). If not, contact USBank via the contacts on this site and ask for reimbursement of any fees/costs you encountered (either in the US or Britian). It is not acceptable for a bank to give out not legal tender.
We don’t have contacts for US Bank - thus the link I posted to obtain them.

But I agree with those who said to go back to the branch and speak to the manager. Razilo is exactly fit right- they are supposed to give you legal tender and they did not. The manager can and should waive those fees and they also should have bought that money back at the rate they sold it to you too. You shouldn’t be out a penny because of the banks mistake.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#20
US bank seems to use Travelex as their outside vendor from their website

https://www.usbank.com/bank-accounts/foreign-currency-services.html

This is not a case of a recent change — no one would take my old paper 5 notes in July 2017 — even before they were formally withdrawn. But then I did not pay for a service — this was old currency left over from a previous trip.

To give someone outdated currency is just inept.
 
Likes: Neil Maley