Paying for things in WDW

We’re coming to WDW for an 8-day stay later this year.

What I’m wondering is what is the best way to pay for things? (outside of the dining plan)

I heard that we can use our Magic Bands by linking them to a Credit(Debit?) card, but I’m worried that cards often charge a surcharge for each transaction made is a foreign currency.

I’d rather not carry around too much cash, and I really have no idea how much I should take in actual dollars. I don’t want to exchange too much and have to change it back again when we get home.

Is there any way to use Magic Bands to “clock up a bill” then is paid in one go?
Or maybe link the bands to Paypal (which doesn’t charge this)
Or a way to avoid foreign currency surcharge?

Any help would be appreciated.

Will you be staying onsite?

Yes, Pop Century resort.

Easiest is to check your credit cards and use the one that doesn’t charge for overseas transactions and it even may be worth getting a card that’s good overseas for the trip. But each individual MagicBand swipe isn’t a separate credit card transaction. They’ll do a sweep and charge when you hit a certain cap dollar wise - worst case it would be one charge per day. That may make it more acceptable, but it’s still giving away a few dollars.

I would be surprised if you could link to PayPal unfortunately…

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You can buy disney gift cards and use them to pay off your racked up magic band purchases. But if you cannot buy them at home, you would still have the overseas transaction fees.

The other risk with gift cards is that you really won’t know how much you are going to spend. You don’t want to have a balance left over that you end up wasting on junk, and you don’t want to not buy enough to cover your bill.

Check with your credit card company to see what they charge for foreign transactions, and if they do, see about applying for another card that doesn’t charge. (They exist.)

I would second (or third) the option of finding a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees! There are so many out there now, I honestly don’t know how the few get away with charging the fees that they do. Chase and Capital One are great for travelers.

Or using the bands would limit the amount of separate transactions, but some are a percentage basis so the “hits” don’t really matter.

This is correct, and the front desk staff at your resort will be able to tell you what the magic number is that triggers a credit card transaction, so you can manage your purchasing around that.

I’ve also seen quite a few people who use their MagicBands to charge things, keep a running total, and then go down to the front desk at night (best to pick a quiet time there) to swipe Disney gift cards in order to eliminate or lessen the charges on their credit cards. This is an imperfect method, as mentioned above, because you likely won’t know exactly how much you will spend and thus can’t calculate the gift cards perfectly. But it will help take a bite out of any credit card transaction fees if you are unable to find a good credit card deal.

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I learned the hard that my Disney Visa charges the foreign transaction fee…but my American Express does not. Good luck!

Definitely don’t use a card that charges you a per transaction fee! That’s awful. I have cards that add a foreign currency fee (percentage), which basically means they tack on an extra few percentage points to the exchange rate. That type of card wouldn’t cost you any extra to pay multiple small transactions rather than one large one, and that structure is really common. But it’s still totally overcharging you.

Like people have said, there are cards which don’t charge more than the posted exchange rate and that’s the only kind I’ll use when I’m out of the country. It’s cheaper and easier than buying currency. Where are you from? There’s probably people who can recommend specific cards for your country.

I used a caxton card while I was in the world. You load it before you go and it fixes the exchange rate of each load (so it puts your money on the card in dollars). That way, no exchange fee when using. It’s a Mastercard so accepted pretty much everywhere. I linked it to my magic band and asked for a print out of charges at my hotel every so often to check my spending was where I thought it was. I also used it to book ADR’s and prepay for things (and for my visa). And when I was done I had the option to convert it back to pounds (with a small fee) or as I have done to euros for my next holiday at the current dollar/euro rate. Highly recommend

If you have a foreign card - just confirm what happens. I know when we traveled aboard our card did NOT charge per transaction.