5 Things to Know About Currency Exchange Before You Go on a Trip

in Finance

Whether you’re going on a vacation or a business trip, financial planning is always one of the key elements. This especially stands for currency exchange. Unfortunately, there are numerous mistakes you can make concerning currency exchange, but there are also ways to avoid them.

Online currency exchange services such as US First Exchange can simplify this process for you by exchanging your money at a favourable rate and delivering it to your door. However, in the future, you still might find yourself abroad and in need of another currency exchange.

That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and learn about the most important things you should know about currency exchange before you go on a trip.

Exchange the Money Ahead of Time

The best way to avoid losing your money abroad is to exchange it before you go on a trip. You can browse your local exchange offices and banks for the best exchange rates for your desired currency, or exchange the money online. That way you’ll avoid unfavourable exchange rates at the airports and foreign exchange offices.

Try to anticipate how much money you’re going to spend on your trip, and exchange that amount. We know that’s almost impossible to do because there are always unforeseen expenses. That’s why you should exchange a little more than you assume you’ll need.

Consider Exchanging Online

Exchanging money online has become common practise. It’s easier, it’s cheaper, and it’s safer. A lot of foreign currencies are not available for exchange at US banks and exchange offices, but you can find an online exchange service for almost any currency.

Looking for a bank or an exchange office that holds your desired currency can cost you a lot of time and gas, and naturally, money. Even if you do find an office that will exchange that currency, their mark-up fee can come out larger than expected.

Looking for a good online currency exchange will cost you nothing. You can browse the web from the comfort of your home or even at your office. You’ll probably find more favourable exchange rates online because online businesses have fewer expenses for offices and maintenance.

How to Exchange Money Online

Online currency exchange works simply and takes just a few clicks. Once you’ve found a legit online exchange office that works with your desired currency at favourable rates, all you have to do is type in the needed amount.

At the check-out, you’ll be requested to type in your payment info, your name, address, and other personal information. After that, you can place an order.

You should expect a phone call from the company requesting the confirmation of your identity and your order. Once you’re through with that, you’ll receive the confirmation of your order and the estimated time of delivery. Companies like US First Exchange have a 95% overnight delivery rate.

The physical transfer of your cash is handled by highly trained professionals specialized to safely deliver valuable packages. Your signature will be required at the time of the delivery, so both sides know that the money is being delivered to the right person.

Good exchange services also offer unlimited insurance of the packages that you can buy in order to protect your money from any unforeseen events.

Avoid Online Scams

Unfortunately, the internet is full of scammers, and this also stands for online currency exchanges. The good news is, you can easily avoid them by following some key rules.

How to Find a Legitimate Exchange Service Online

It’s easy to determine if an online exchange service is legitimate. Once you’ve found the one with favourable exchange rates for your desired currency, you should take a look at their website.

It’s important that they have a phone number and a physical address. Look up their address and see if it looks valid. If it shows some residential house or an abandoned warehouse, you should probably pass.

If the address seems legit, you should give them a phone call just to get the human experience. If everything seems alright, you can proceed with your order.

How to Recognize a Scam

Scammers are lurking on every corner of the web, but if you learn to recognize some red flags, you’ll easily stay clear of them. Persistent marketing, such as annoying pop-ups and spam emails is often a sign of a scam, so you should avoid such services.

If someone says that there’s no commission on the exchange, you should know that there’s no such thing. You should always look up the exchange company online and check for reviews. If it’s a scam, you should come across complaints and a warning somewhere on the web. By simply following our advice on recognizing a legitimate online exchange service, you should be well protected from scammers.

Exchanging Money Abroad

As mentioned before, it’s very hard to anticipate how much money you’re going to spend on your trip. Even if you did exchange a lot of money before your departure, you might still find yourself abroad without the domestic currency at one point.

The number one rule is to avoid the no commission exchange offices. It’s well known that these offices are trying to mislead naïve tourists. There is no such thing as a commission-free exchange service. Well, there is in the eyes of the law, and that’s why these offices are still allowed to work in many countries.

The trick is that such offices don’t charge commission fees de jure. Instead, they mark up the difference so high that you can end up losing a lot of money.

Another rule is to avoid exchanging money at airports. There’s very little competition at the airports, so the exchange offices usually agree to work at the same exchange rate, which is usually very unfavourable for the customer.

Obviously, you should avoid the street dealers, no matter how good their exchange rates sound, because you know they don’t have a license, and you don’t know if they even work with real money. Not to mention, you can get it trouble with the law since these kinds of transactions are illegal everywhere in the world.

When you have to exchange money abroad, be ready to compare a couple of offices before you choose one to work with. Your hosts or hotel staff can also direct you to the exchange offices that work at fair rates.

In Conclusion

It’s obviously in your best interest to exchange the money before your departure if possible. The best way to do that nowadays is online, though you’ll have a day or two to wait for the cash to arrive at your doorstep.

If you’re in a hurry, it’s better to exchange money at your local exchange service, than to risk losing more money in a foreign country. However, you might still find yourself in a situation that you have to exchange money abroad.

We hope that this article will help you avoid making some common mistakes in those situations, but it’s probably best to look up advice related to the specific country you’re visiting.


Image Credits: John McArthur

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