Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Best Way to Exchange Money

Traveling to a foreign country and not quite sure how to best exchange your money?  Here's the how to guide of best ways to exchange money into foreign currencies.  I've listed below the best ways to exchange your money in a ranked order.  Unfortunately, sometimes you may not have much choice how to exchange currencies, but if you plan ahead, you can save a lot of money.

  1. Currency Fair - This is hands down the best site for exchanging money outside of being an actual trader as long as your account you are transferring from is not a US or Canadian bank account.  Currency Fair allows you to pick your own exchange rate and has under a .5% fee from the mid-market exchange rate, which is the optimal rate.  You will also pay about a 3 Euro fee to transfer out, but overall this will save you the most money.  You can also click this link here and we'll both be credited with 30 euros and a free transfer out when you make a transfer of 400 euros.
  2. Transfer Wise - This one is probably the best online exchange for exchanging money from USD or CAD because it hosts a market in the US so you don't get charged wire fees (Oops not actually true, once again you get charged when transferring from a foreign currency back to the US).  The optimal exchange rate is always .5% below the mid-market rate, so for big exchanges, Currency Fair is better, but all in all, this is a great tool and there are no fees to transfer in and out, just the flat .5% rate to exchange. (Also not exactly true, you can choose your own exchange rate with transferwise as well).  Click here and we both get 50 Pounds and a free exchange when you sign up and transfer 300 euros worth.
  3. No fee credit cards or banks - Some credit cards and banks advertise that they don't charge any fees for exchanges, but all banks charge exchange fees. For example, I have a US credit card that "doesn't" charge any fees, but after doing the math, I discovered that they were charging me a flat fee of 1.4-2% below the optimal mid-market exchange rate.  Which means that I was actually losing quite a lot per transaction.  My Swiss bank claimed to do the same, instead claiming that they would just charge a .30 Euro fee to transfer from Francs to Euros, but in reality they were charging me the .30 + a flat exchange rate fee of 1.5-3%.  Such fees may not seem like much, but they add up over a life of exchanging
  4. Withdrawing from a bank with a fee - Most banks will tell you up front that they charge a certain percent to use a card transaction for example one of my banks has a fee of 3% per transaction fee in a foreign currency + the poor exchange rate of the bank.  They usually also have another sort of transaction fee for withdrawing from an ATM, mine in this case would charge a fee of $5 per ATM withdrawal in a foreign currency + the poor exchange rate.  Moral of the story, if you can avoid using these banks for foreign currency transactions, that would be best, but if you have no other choice, plan ahead and withdraw most of your money at the beginning of your trip at one ATM.  Of course, this creates a problem with thieves, so make sure not to keep it all in one place.
  5. Cash Exchange - This should be your last resort in country.  If you have some of your native currency and you want to exchange it there, go ahead, but expect to lose out on 10-20% of what the optimal exchange rate really is.  You can get a better exchange rate with these places if you exchange more money, but basically, cash exchanges are for drug dealers and mafia bosses.
  6. Traveler's Checks - Traveler's checks can be another last ditch option, but if you're already planning far enough ahead to be able to get them, you'll find they're not super useful.  They aren't widely accepted anymore, and they don't get great exchange rates.  But they can be somewhat useful if there's a high theft rate in the country you're going.

If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute click here to send me an email.  If you would like to sponsor my trip somewhere to showcase your business or to work with me please send me an email as well.


  1. I would like to special thanks to the author of this post for sharing such an useful information. My friend Tony always curious for travelling and Now I am going to share this with

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  3. Thank you for helping people get the information they need. Great stuff as usual. Keep up the great work!!! convert money

  4. Extremely helpful post. This is my first time i visit here. I discovered such a large number of intriguing stuff in your blog particularly its exchange. Truly its extraordinary article. Keep it up. standard chartered visa platinum card | standard chartered mastercard titanium card

  5. I use Transferwise mostly sending money abroad. I also use Currency World as a currency converter and exchange rates website.


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