MONEY AT HOME AND ABROAD

The first rule of money is "have enough." Beyond that, follow these tips to

make the most of what you've got:

Use credit cards: Visa and MasterCard are the most universal;

American Express and Diners Club are favorites on the expense

account circuit. Why use credit cards? Two reasons: Your

potential losses from theft are minimal if you report a lost or

stolen card promptly, and you'll get a better exchange rate

overseas than you would with cash or traveler's checks.

CAUTION: Some card issuers tack a charge of 2 or 3

percent, or more, onto foreign transactions. Such charges are in

addition to any fees that Visa or MasterCard charges for currency

conversion. Before using a credit card overseas, call your issuer to

learn what additional fees (if any) are levied on overseas

purchases.

Use ATM cards: Bank automated teller machine (ATM) cards

offer a quick, easy way to get local currency throughout the

civilized world. They can also save you money if you're

traveling outside your home country, because exchanges are

computed at the bank wholesale rate, and transaction fees are

nearly always lower than commissions at banks or exchange

counters. (Exception: If you're traveling in countries in which

black market exchanges are tolerated, cash may get you a better

rate.)

IMPORTANT: Many foreign ATM machines require

four-digit numeric personal identification numbers (PINs),

so ask your bank for a new number if yours doesn't meet that

standard.

Carry traveler's checks: For emergencies, a stash of $100 or

$200 in traveler's checks can be handy. Buy a well-known brand

like American Express or Thomas Cook, and follow the

instructions for using them. (Issuers aren't required to replace

lost or stolen checks if the traveler has been negligent.)

Exchange money abroad: You'll pay a premium for changing

money at the counter in your U.S. and Canadian airports, so wait

to use the exchange counter or ATM at your destination, unless

you're willing to pay extra for peace of mind.

MasterCard/Cirrus ATM Locator

http://www.mastercard.com/atm

Find an ATM by region or airport.

Visa/Plus ATM Locator

http://www.visa.com/cgi-bin/vee/pd/atm/main.html?2+0

This network has more than 457,000 ATMs in 120

countries.

Universal Currency Converter

http://www.xe.net/currency

Enter a number, select two currencies, and click the button