Banking Category Banking: the easy, simple banking guide

How to convert currency

Exchange rates are constantly changing, so if you're going to visit another country -- or are just coming back from a vacation -- you're naturally concerned about getting the best exchange rate on your currency. There are a number of ways that you can convert currency, but each of these methods comes with different exchange rates and fees. Find the method that works best for you based on cost and convenience -- in most cases, you'll have to pay higher costs when the method is more convenient.

Withdraw money with your cash card. For instant currency conversion, you can simply use your cash card in the country that you're visiting. You'll typically get the best exchange rate when doing it this way, but you need to watch out for cash machine fees. Withdraw the maximum amount of money that you can to minimise fees.

Convert your currency at the airport. Most international airports have booths that you can use to convert your money. These booths are certainly convenient, but generally offer poor conversion rates.

Use currency converters in tourist areas. If you are visiting a country that has a large number of tourists, you're likely to find currency kiosks in the major areas. Compare rates and fees to get the best deal.

Spend pounds abroad. Some shops will accept pounds even though they are not the local currency. You'll receive change in the local currency.

Ask your bank to do currency conversion. Typically, your bank will be able to convert the foreign money that you have leftover from your trip to pounds sterling by depositing it into your account. Large banks may also be able to convert currency before your trip.


  • Check the exchange rates online so that you know when you're getting a good or bad deal through a currency exchange kiosk.