Where Do I Exchange Foreign Money

where do i exchange foreign money


Exchanging foreign money is one of the necessary steps you will need to take when traveling abroad or receiving money from overseas. But where do you go to swap your hard-earned cash into a different currency? This article answers this question, guiding you through vast world of money exchange.


For many people, the first place that comes to mind when they think about exchanging money is their local bank. They trust their bank with their savings, loans, and other financial services, so it only makes sense to also trust them with exchanging foreign currency. However, keep in mind that not all banks offer this service and the ones that do often charge high fees or offer exchanges at a lower-than-market rate.

Credit Unions

Similar to banks, credit unions also offer foreign currency exchange services. If you're a member of a credit union, you may even be entitled to reduced exchange rates, making this an excellent option.

Online Money Exchange Platforms

The rise of digital technology has completely revolutionized foreign money exchange. Online platforms like TransferWise, XE, OFX, and Revolut offer competitive exchange rates with minimal fees. Furthermore, they're convenient. You can exchange money from the comfort of your home and receive the exchanged amount directly in your bank account.

Airport or Hotel Exchange Bureaus

While airports or hotel exchange bureaus may seem like the most convenient option since they're readily available, this convenience often comes at a high price. They're notorious for poor exchange rates and hefty fees, so it's best to use them only in emergencies when other options aren't available.

Money Exchange Houses

In large cities and tourist areas, you will most likely find money exchange houses or foreign exchange bureaus. They usually offer competitive rates and charge less service fees compared to banks or credit union. However, it's imperative to do some research beforehand to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Foreign ATMs

Another option to consider is withdrawing money from a foreign ATM. This, however, might entail double fees: one from your home bank and one from the foreign bank. If your bank has international branches or is part of the Global ATM Network, you can potentially avoid these fees.

Prepaid Travel Cards

A prepaid travel card is a secure and convenient alternative. You can load these cards with the chosen currency prior to your departure. While this can secure you a good exchange rate, be aware of potentially high loading, withdrawal, and inactivity fees.

Peer-to-Peer Exchange

Innovative apps like WeSwap operate on a peer-to-peer basis, matching people looking to exchange currencies. This method can often offer much better rates than banks and traditional exchange services since you're essentially swapping currency with other users.

Post Offices

Some post offices offer currency exchange services. Though rates might not be the most competitive, they often offer the convenience of advance ordering and easy collection of your foreign currency.


There is a myriad of options available when it comes to exchanging foreign currency. The best method for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your location, the amount of time you have, and your comfort level with using digital technology for financial transactions. Keep every option open, compare the rates, and choose the one that suits you best. Money exchange is no longer a tedious task, but an easy step on your travel or international earning journey.