Getting Foreign Currency for a Trip

Published on in Foreign Exchange Guide by

Many tourists and business people wonder when is the right time to get foreign currency for a trip. This is a difficult question to answer. Those who exchange a lot of currency in their home country may find that the exchange rates and fees are very high. The prices quotes may be very different from those quoted from online foreign exchange rate websites. This means there could be a cost that is well above 5% for exchanging the money at home. On the other hand, it is inadvisable to arrive in a country with no currency. There is no assurance that there will be an ATM open. In some countries, the hours of operation for the ATM are limited. That is why it is a good idea to exchange some currency prior to departure.

Today, most tourists and business people will do foreign currency exchange upon arrival at the airport or hotel. There are usually ATM nearby. That is where consumers can get the lowest fees on the exchange. In general, the rates are pretty close to what is quoted on the foreign exchange rate websites. The only problem with this method is that the bank may block the transaction because it suspects there is fraud involved. This method does not work if the ATM is closed due to a malfunction or due to being outside of business hours. Many hotels no longer provide foreign exchange services. In many countries, credit cards are not widely accepted for payments even at expensive lodging establishments. That is why may be better to pay more and exchange some currency instead of waiting after arrival.

Those who are going to get some foreign currency prior to departure are highly advised to shop around. The rates and fees for doing foreign exchange can differ dramatically between one financial institution and another. That is why it definitely pays to shop around. This is especially true for those who are planning to exchange a large amount of currency. A bad exchange rate with a large transaction amount means the consumer will lose even more money. That is why shopping around for the best rates is so important.

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