Where to exchange foreign currency

Expert Travel Tips
// 2 November 2017

Is it a Good Idea to Exchange Foreign Currency at the Airport?

The flight is booked, travel backpacks are packed and you are ready to start your trip. But traveling abroad requires a more preparation than domestic travel – making sure that passport isn’t expired, getting visas and more. There’s just one thing to sort out: holiday cash or currency exchange, which is a complex and costly business. Travelers can keep it cheap when traveling to countries that accept no foreign transaction fee on debit or credit cards. But there are many countries where cards are not widely used as it is in US. So, travelers will need to exchange currency and most of travelers prefer airport currency kiosks for this. Is it good idea to prefer airport for exchanging currency? Avoid below given places for currency exchange:

  1. Traveler’s cheque

It is secure way to carry money abroad, because if cheque is lost or stolen, you will get full refund. Remember, the exchange rates are poor and some come with high fees, and cashing cheques abroad you can face additional charges.

  1. Avoid using dollars

You may find it good that dollars are being accepted in foreign country, and you may think that there’s no need to change money. By paying directly in dollars, you are being charged 20% more due to store’s terrible exchange rate. Without knowing it, you are spending your dollars at a lousy rate every time you buy something with dollars.

  1. Airport kiosks

According to avid travelers, exchange rates at airport are poor, but if you want to pick up your cash before boarding, order them in advance to get better rate. According to survey, more than USD 28 million is wasted annually on buying currency at last minute at airports due to poor exchange rates. When purchasing currency, keep in mind that ‘commission-free’ doesn’t mean best deal, as fees are likely to have been deducted from the rate.

  1. Using Debit Cards

Debit card providers add additional fee for each purchase you make as well as fees when you withdraw money from ATM. The exchange rate you get through debit card is generally worse. So, it is better to avoid using debit cards in foreign.

Below given are tips that you can consider for exchanging currency:

  1. Bank or credit union

Many banks offer currency exchange to customers. Travelers can order currency exchange at branch location or online pickup at branch. Mind that sometimes this service is charge with additional fee. In case you need to exchange currency while abroad, find local bank affiliated with your bank.

  1. Pre-paid cards

These cards are easy to use because you simply recharge them with funds and then use card to withdraw cash from ATMs or make purchases. These cards are offered by all foreign exchange specialists, banks and travel agents. Some providers do not charge exchange fees, others will charge set-up fee, fees on cash withdrawals and top-up charges. Travelers have option to purchase specialist euro or dollar currency cards, which are cheaper than using debit card.

  1. Order cash through currency converter

There are number of websites selling foreign currency and deliver to your doorsteps. But mind that, delivery charges can eat your funds and sometimes you won’t get favorable rates.

  1. Bring some dollars

Dollars in your wallet comes in handy in emergencies, such as ATM card is not working or banks go on strike. So, keep several hundred dollars as a backup.


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