Tips on getting the best Currency Exchange rate

Now this is a topic not many people think about – I’d say the majority of people simply rock up at the airport, exchange their money and set off on their holiday. Little do they know how much money they have just lost. So here are a few tips to maximize your money when exchanging into a different currency:

Do not exchange money at the airport or major train stations

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Rookie mistake. Just don’t do it. Exchange rates are the worst at these locations. Often they will offer 0% commission or a guaranteed buyback offer (i.e. they will buy any currency you have left over at the same rate that you exchanged at), but this is purely all smoke and mirrors to fool you into thinking you’ve got yourself a good deal.

Monitor the official exchange rate over several weeks

This sounds pretty technical, but it is super easy.

Just use the XE Currency Charts and chose the currencies you want to monitor. A beautiful chart will pop up and this can give you a guide as to how the market is going and roughly what you can expect in the near future.

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Compare the rates on aggregate sites

These sites are fantastic as they search through all the major and minor banks and agencies which offer currency exchange and work out which is offering the best deals. You can then place an order online with the option of: pick-up in store, delivered to your house or airport pick-up. Keep in mind the exchange rate does vary depending on the option you chose, generally pick-up in store gives you the best deal.

If you’re in:

Exchanging money once you’re at your destination

There are situations where you can’t exchange your currency to the one you want, this often occurs when you go somewhere that is less travelled (eg. Mongolia, Bolivia etc.). In such a situation it does make it a bit difficult to get a great exchange rate, but a few options are:

  • Bring cash with you and exchange it at a currency exchange in the city when you arrive
  • Withdraw from a local ATM

It may be worthwhile to exchange a small amount at the airport so you can at least pay for your transport to your hotel.

Get a Travel Card

Unless your normal bank offers incredible exchange rates, get yourself a travel debit or credit card. There are plenty of companies that offer them and there’s always new products available so keep an eye out.

Generally travel cards can be divided under 3 categories:

  • Credit Cards
  • Single currency Debit Cards
  • Multi currency Debit Cards

We use the Revolut card which is a Multi-currency debit card (for European residents). Simply download the Revolut app, click order a card and one will be sent to your house in a few days. It’s free and the best thing is you can link it to your normal bank card to top it up which takes a few seconds through the app. The other benefit is that it offers incredible exchange rates which are very close to the official exchange rate. It also allows you to withdraw up to £500 free each month!

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For Australian residents, I would highly recommend the Citibank Plus card which is free to setup, allows free cash withdrawals overseas with great exchange rates.

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Have a look here for a comparison of Australian cards UK cards 

Generally the key things to look for are:

  • FREE card
  • FREE cash withdrawals
  • FREE conversion (i.e. they don’t charge you a fee to convert the currency)

It is also worthwhile checking out reviews from other customers who have used those cards, because sometimes they look good on paper but the reality is completely different.

Hopefully that gives you a few ideas on maximising your money 🙂

 

Til next time

Ann & Jason xo

6 thoughts on “Tips on getting the best Currency Exchange rate

  1. Best card to travel with for Aussies is the Citibank Visa Debit – very good FX rates close to the official rates and no FX conversion fees or foreign ATM withdrawal fees, lets you use your own cash as well

    Second to that is the 28deg MasterCard, which also offers good rates and no FX fees.

    Like

    1. Great tip Kevin – have heard good things about the Citibank card

      The 28 degrees card used to be the top card to go for but since they added new fees for cash withdrawals and adding money onto the card I think people are slowly steering away from it

      Like

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