It goes without saying, the best exchange rates will help you get more foreign currency for your euros. Understanding how to exchange money can make all the difference when it comes to saving money. We compared dozens of ways to exchange money and found that the best methods typically involve avoiding banks and in-person exchange kiosks.
How to find the best exchange rates
When transferring funds internationally or exchanging currency for a trip overseas, you will want to get the most value for money. So here’s our top tips on how to get the best exchange rates possible:
Use non-bank exchange services: Providers like Wise, OFX, WorldRemit and similar online money transfer services offer competitive exchange rates and low margins. If you are sending money overseas, these companies typically charge lower fees than AIB and Bank of Ireland.
Convert cash when rates are favourable: If you know you need to make an international transfer or you will be traveling overseas, then try to exchange your cash when rates are favourable to you. Carry out your conversion at an exchange provider that charges low fees and has a competitive rate, and you’ll benefit by saving money.
Exchange money at airports or train stations: Although such booths may be convenient, they never offer good exchange rates. You will find they take advantage of people’s need to exchange their money and charge highly for the convenience.
Use a credit or debit card abroad: Unless you know for sure, your card will most likely charge fees for use abroad and offer poor exchange rates.
How to get the best exchange rate on international money transfers
If you plan to use an international money transfer service, then it’s best to shop around and compare your options. The more time you can leave yourself before needing to send the transfer the better. Here are a few things to think about when comparing money transfer exchange rates:
Know the mid-market rate for your currency. Money transfer providers skew exchange rates in their favour. Therefore it is best to use the mid-market rate as a baseline and see who is offering the best currency exchange rates.
Compare providers. Use our table to compare providers. It is also worth getting quotes from a few providers and seeing which offers the better deal.
Skip the bank. The bank is not your friend in this situation, as they almost never offer fair exchange rates.
Use transfer tools to save money. Consider using recurring payments, forward contracts and limit orders to get a stronger exchange rate.
Use a multicurrency bank account. If you plan to send regular transactions using commonly traded currencies, then a multicurrency bank account often offers strong exchange rates and low fees.
Send larger amounts. You will find that many money transfer providers offer stronger exchange rates for larger transfers.
How best to monitor exchange rates?
One of the ways to save yourself money when making an international money transfer is to carry out your conversion when the exchange rate is most favourable. If you know in advance that you will be sending money abroad or travelling overseas, then you can monitor currency trends ahead of time. Take a look at our live currency converter to see what exchange rate you would get for converting your cash today.
Market demand dictates how much one currency is worth compared to another – this is known as the mid-market rate. It is also the rate that banks use to trade money with one another. When you convert money through a money transfer service, you will typically find that the provider adds a margin on top of the exchange rate to make money. So it is worth keeping this in mind when you are monitoring exchange rates. Select the currency pair to fit your needs
Compare exchange rates of money transfer services
Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Where to exchange currency in Ireland before your trip
If you know in advance that you will be travelling abroad, then you have several options:
Check your local bank. If you bank with one of the larger bank chains, they will almost certainly be able to sell you a wide range of foreign currency. Just beware of poor exchange rates. Even smaller banks can often order money from larger branches.
Use a currency ordering service. Services like Travelex allow you to order more than 50 currencies and have them delivered straight to your door. However, keep in mind you won’t get the mid-market rate.
Use an international transfer service, but have it delivered to your destination. Find a provider that can deliver your transfer for cash pickup at an agent location and have it waiting for you when you arrive at your destination.
Where to exchange currency outside of Ireland?
When traveling internationally you’ll typically get the best exchange rates at banks, ATMs and post offices. If you have a bank card that doesn’t charge international ATM fees, this will most likely be the strongest and most convenient option.
It may be possible to exchange money at your hotel but double-check the rate against the mid-market rate to see how strong it is. You may also find that some local shops and restaurants offer to accept payment in your native currency.
Here are our dos and don’ts when it comes to exchanging currency outside of Ireland:
Do exchange money at:
Do not exchange money at:
Street-side exchange bureaus
Airports, train stations, bus stations and the like
Frequently asked questions
If you are buying currency in advance, then it is often best to use your bank, a currency ordering service or a money transfer service and opt for a cash pickup. Make sure to compare exchange rates in order to find the best deal. You can use the mid-market rate for your currency as a baseline and learn who's offering the best exchange rate.
When exchanging large amounts of money, a small variance in the exchange rate can lead to hundreds of euros lost or gained. Exchange rates are calculated based on what people are willing to buy and sell foreign currencies for. So it is a good idea to monitor foreign currency rates if you know you will need to convert your money soon.
If your bank gives you free international ATM withdrawals, this may be one of the cheapest options to get cash while traveling abroad. However, remember to check the rates and fees offered by your bank to make sure you are getting the most value for money.
Zak Killermann is a technical publisher at Finder who’s specialized in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology for six years — covering everything from ICO booms, crypto winters, memecoins and more. He’s mined and minted cryptocurrencies, and geeks out over Ethereum upgrades. Zak’s focus is in breaking down technical concepts into approachable nuggets of information. While diving into all things crypto, Zak also contributes to Finder’s money transfers and stocks verticals.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.