Between exchange rate commissions, ATM fees, credit card surcharges, and other expenses, you will almost always be charged a little extra when converting one currency to another. So how can you lower these currency conversion expenses and get the best exchange rates when you travel aboard?
Don’t go for Dynamic Currency Conversion
If you are asked or given an opportunity to make purchases abroad using your country’s currency, decline. Instead, insist to be charged in the local currency. Such dynamic currency conversion offers often provide very lousy exchange rates and sometimes include hidden charges. Even worse, your credit card will charge an extra foreign-transaction fee on top of every purchase that you make. Subsequently, you will not only be paying double the fees but you will also be getting bad exchange rates.
Know the Market Rate
The only way to get the best conversion rates in a foreign country is to know the prevailing rate. Before you exchange your money, do a little research on the current exchange rates to get an idea of what to expect. If you are on a long vacation, endeavor to check periodically so that you are updated with any major changes.
Additionally, remember that currency rates fluctuate from one provider to another. So before you carry on any purchase, shop around to know the cheapest providers or options. Obviously, prices can never be the same across the board.
Use ATM and Credit Cards
Generally, you will get the best interbank conversion rates when buying a foreign currency with your ATM or credit cards—they are usually 2-7% better than the rates you will get when exchanging a traveler’s check or cash. So when doing large purchases such car rentals, tickets, and hotel bills, strive to use credit and ATM cards.
Negotiate For Discounts
Like the price of any other commodity, currency conversion rates are not cast in stone, and it is always possible to negotiate for special discounts with the local bureaus, especially when you are exchanging large sums of money. Just like a price-match strategy, you can always negotiate if you see better rates with a different provider.
Informed currency exchange in a foreign country can help you save a lot of cash when you are travelling. Although some people prefer exchanging their money before they leave their home countries, it is important to note that you can always get better exchange rates if you can wait until you get to your destination. Remember, there are myriad ways of accomplishing good conversion rates in a foreign country, and none of them require special skills or great investments.