I am often asked what is the best way to convert your USD to EUR while you are stationed in Germany. This may be to cover rent, utilities, a mortgage and even spending money.
For some time it has been the belief of many that the cheapest way would be to use either an American Debit or Credit Card. This was a great way to go but you still were paying 1% fees roughly. In some cases you were getting the fees waived or some cards were free all together however you were still going to the ATM every month to get your rent and spending money from a US account and then depositing it in a German account.
Some people were also writing checks from their US account and depositing them in to a German account at a Volksbank or a Kreissparkasse. This was a reasonable way to go and you were paying around 1% on the exchange as well. Again, you were watching rates and going to the bank continually to make sure your German account had funds in it.
The above were some ways that I used to recommend to our customers but newer paths have been developed and refined leaving the above obsolete and quite frankly too much work.
What we do for our customers is help them to establish an ITS account. This is an account that you set up through myPay that will allow you to actually set an allotment up to your German bank account. This means that the funds are deposited into your German account on the same days that you would have gotten paid to your US account. No more ATM trips, no more deposits, no more need for a credit card or check. Best of all these transfers are done at the actual market rate meaning you are no longer paying for a ridiculous exchange rate that is seen as 1-2.5% depending on the bank you’re working with.
There are several steps to setting up an ITS account, we have several attachments we can send to help you along the way but at the end of the day it is quite easy.
Set up an ITS account and establish an allotment that can cover your rent, utilities and spending money and know that you will always have Euro in your account at the best possible rate. You can update the allotment amount as you wish by logging into my pay and simply changing the amount.
The steps are listed below
Fill out the OF1199: You need to fill out the desired amount in U.S. Dolars you want taken out of each paycheck
Email completed OF1199 and certification to your payroll point of contact. Include in this email a short message statement stating that you have read and understand the attached documents informing you of your responsibilities along with the requirement to report to the IRS any foreign bank accounts containing $10,000 or more.
Log in to MyPay and start a new Allotment with the information attached below
Email the POC and state the Allotment was started in MyPay
Once you receive a confirmation email and you are done.
Below you can follow the link to download 5 files that contain step by step direction for setting up your ITS account.