Are you wanting to travel and are searching for “currency exchange near me”? You have come to the right place! In this article, you will find a handy zipcode search tool to locate a currency exchange closest to you. There are tips to help you save the most money and find the best place to exchange currency.
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Where to exchange currency before your trip
Traveling from one country to another requires a lot of things, one of which is how or where to change your currency. You will need a place that is profitable and safe, so you don’t feel cheated.
You get the best rates of currency exchange before setting off on your journey.
A lot of banks (some of which will be listed in this article) offer exchange of currency to customers. Irrespective of the fact that a small feeling may be required, your credit union or bank is the best and cheapest place to exchange currency. A customer may choose to order currency either online so you can pick it up at a branch or by phone or at a branch location
Here are a few locations near you:
Making an order through a currency converter online is another alternative, the currency can be delivered straight to your home. But the rate of exchange is not favorable as the charges on delivery tends to be deducted from your funds. Airport stores or kiosks should be the least of your options because their fees are ridiculously high and the rate of exchange is inferior.
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Where to get foreign currency abroad
On arrival to your destination, keep off from exchange houses or airport stores or kiosks. The best option you have in your bank’s ATM network. You may be charged a competitive rate of exchange and low fees of around 1% to 3% when you try to withdraw money in the local currency.
Some credit unions and banks have this cash withdrawal advantage. Applying for a debit or credit card before you travel is a good idea as it proves a better option rather than other means. Try not to use a credit card at ATMs because it will attract interest and fees for the advance of cash taken.
The Costs of Traveling Abroad
Aside from booking flights, renewing your passport and arranging accommodations, traveling abroad can be quite expensive. You will have to pay for transportation, pay for food and also pay for all the experiences you will get away from home.
At some point, you will have to exchange currency regardless of whether you have a reliable debit or credit card attached to your account. You need to have local currency worth $50 at least on hand should in case you need cash, you don’t lose a lot of it to fees.
What to Know About Currency Exchange
Firstly, you need to bear in mind the basics of the exchange rate. Inquire about the rules and regulations of the local currency of your designated location. Take, for instance, you need to already be in South Africa to exchange for Rands. A lot of countries prefer, or even slow American visitors or tourists make payments in U.S. dollars.
It is possible sometimes that instead of paying commission charges for fat percentage, you will end up paying on a per-item basis, that is why you need to know what you are paying for when you need to exchange currency. This implies that before you make an exchange, you should inquire about the net rate of exchange.
Prepaid Cards and Checks
There are differences in the rates in prepaid cards and checks as it varies from place to place, and by this, you can easily shop for reasonable prices before considering a purchase.
Wholesale Exchange Rate
Whenever banks decide to trade between themselves, they make use of the wholesale exchange rate which is the interbank rate. The rates on currency can constantly fluctuate according to the affairs of the economy, employment numbers, interest rates, and political situations. Constantly monitoring the rate can allow you to purchase a dollar when it becomes strong.
Where Not to Exchange Currency
Before deciding to exchange your currency, you need to take note of places you are not allowed to exchange money. It may feel like the best option but note that major transportation hubs and airports don’t have a favorable exchange rate.
They tack on commission charges and additional fees because they are fully aware that they are your first and last choice when you have to exchange currency. This also applies to your major tourist centers and hotels.
Try your best to avoid currency kiosks at the airport except they happen to be the only option you have in an emergency or at your destination, they are the only available option.
Where to Exchange Currency in the U.S.
Your credit union or bank is your best option in the U.S. if you have to plan and exchange currency before you travel. They charge lesser fees compared to exchange bureaus, and when it comes to exchange rates, they have the best access. Most big banks at a local branch will trade personally to customers when they sell foreign currency.
The currency can also be shipped to your house or ordered online over the phone. They may be convenient, but it has shipping fees attached to it. The same is applicable to post offices as they offer similar services.
Foreign Exchange Providers
Through foreign exchange providers, currencies can be ordered online by customers. These companies supply customers with international payment and currency exchange through mail delivery or in-store pick-ups.
They may not have the kind of rates your bank offers, but they are preferable to the bureaus at your destination. Your shipping fees can be neglected when you order a large amount of money, and they are very convenient.
A traveler’s check is still another option for you to purchase. They might appear a bit outdated, but credit unions and banks still grant them. Without being a bank’s customer, you can still purchase a traveler’s check. The only disadvantage is that you will be charged extra fees.
A huge advantage of the traveler’s check is they can only be used by the recipient whose name is on it and can be replaced once stolen or lost, unlike the use of cash. The disadvantage is the bank of your destination is the only place to cash them because they are not accepted everywhere. Also, its availability is not applicable in every foreign currency.
Prepaid Travel Cards
Prepaid travel cards should be considered for the modern equivalent. Before leaving, load into the card the amount of U.S. dollar required so it can be used overseas as a debit card.
Consistency on the rate will be on the day you bought or loaded the card and not on when you spend it. When it gets lost, its value is protected just like the traveler’s check.
After the incident, you only need to report it and make a replacement card request. It can also be topped-up by someone from afar, which is excellent for students abroad or young travelers. Its disadvantages are similar to the traveler’s check with transaction fees and limited acceptance.
Where to Exchange Currency Abroad
Once you get to your destination, you can find a lot of places to exchange your currency if you didn’t have enough time to exchange it in your country. Getting a good deal might be just the only complication. Again, try to stay away from stores or hotels in tourist centers and major transportation hubs.
Your debit card will be the best way for you to have access to your bank’s ATM network when you’re abroad. Also, try to inquire if your financial institution is in partnership with any bank overseas. By so doing, you can make withdrawals without having to pay fees on ATMs.
Try using a checking account if you’re a regular traveler without foreign fees, like the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account from Charles Schwab or the Capital One 360 Checking Account. Note that Charles Schwab forgoes any currency conversion fees and also reimburses any fees on foreign ATM.
Currency Exchange Counters
Currency exchange counters are another option for you to visit. Counters are lower in terms of service and transaction fees. A lot of currency exchange businesses compete with themselves in some tourist areas, making it possible for you to strike a deal in your favor.
Finally, some other options to which you can send money to yourself are Western Union, PayPal, and MoneyGram. They can be sent to your destination either on the road or from home for you to retrieve it in the local currency.
What to Do With Foreign Currency After Your Trip
There are a lot of chances that you will be left with foreign currency after your trip. Though, you don’t need to feel shortchanged. Visit your credit union, local bank, currency exchange counter, or post office when you return. Most of the places so not accept coins, so be sure to spend the coins first and have the bills reserved for later.
It is okay to hold the foreign currency till the next trip, that is if you are a frequent traveler. Is it true that the rate of exchange may not stay the same throughout your many travels?
This way, you get to stay ahead, but it can also have its downside. It is useful when the currency you are like to travel again and the foreign currency you have is less than $50.
If you don’t want your foreign currency to turn out useless or you don’t want to visit a bank, try selling the money to friends who are visiting the same destination you left. The rate you paid or that of the current interbank can both be used to save money. You can sell on eBay provided you follow the ground rules.
The leftovers from your foreign currency can also be donated to organizations like UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). UNICEF collects leftovers from foreign currency through the mail or onboard your flight in conjunction with American Airlines.
Using a Debit or Credit Card Abroad
You may not need to pay for things in cash even though local currency is important to have on hand. If you have expenses like car rentals, using a credit card to make payment is the better option. If might get insurance on the rental car if you pay with your credit card.
You could be missing out on a couple of benefits overseas if you decide to use only cash. Foreign transaction fees are not charged on a lot of credit cards so you can avoid specific fees and rack up rewards when you travel.
Some merchants may request if you wish to make payment in USD when you use a card. It might seem more straightforward to make the conversion math, but in the long run, you will be charged currency conversion fees. In such cases, it is better to refuse and allow your bank to settle the math on your behalf.
Whenever you think about traveling, be sure to make use of these tips for exchanging currency as they can help you save money and time. To avoid getting ripped off, pay utmost attention to the rates of conversion and importantly what you are paying for.
You will be in your advantage whenever you travel to have a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards as it discards unnecessary fees and helps you use your money most efficiently. This way, rather than worry about managing your money, you get to lay back and enjoy your vacation.
Financial Travel Tips
You will need to stay away from foreign transaction fees as much as you can if you want to save money. It is possible to save money by staying away from ATMs that are not within your bank’s network or making use of a fee-free credit card.
A frequent flyer can use any of the airline’s programs for frequent flyers out there. You get rewarded for certain purchases and discounts on some expenses. This provides comfort and helps make your journey affordable.
Have you ever exchanged currency? Let us know in the comments!
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