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Today’s currency exchange rates

Learn how exchange rates impact the total cost of your international money transfer.

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Exchange rates change often, so staying on top of trends is crucial to saving money on international money transfers. Today, $1 is worth…

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Updated: 25 Nov 2020 23:02:39 UTC

How is currency converted?

Every day, traders buy and sell currency on the forex market. As they do, they increase and decrease the value of currency.

Market demand dictates how much one currency is worth compared to another currency — this is the mid-market rate. For example, the mid-market rate between the US dollar (USD) and Japanese yen (JPY) could be 1 USD = 100 yen. This is the rate that banks use to trade money with one another.

How currency is converted for consumers

When you convert money through a money transfer provider, you likely won’t get the mid-market rate. Instead, your provider adds a margin on top of the exchange rate to make money.

In our example above, the mid-market rate used by banks is 1 USD = 100 JPY, but the rate the bank will offer you may be 1 USD = 96 JPY.

If you transfer $1,000, you won’t receive 100,000 JPY. Instead, at the rate offered, you’ll receive 96,000 JPY. This transfer would cost you 4,000 JPY — about $30, because of exchange rate markup.

How to get the best exchange rates

To get the best rates, you’ll have to look for money transfer providers that aren’t your bank.

  • Use an online money transfer specialist
    Some online money transfer specialists will offer the mid-market rate on your exchange while charging you high fees. Others will charge you lower fees and offer a slight markup on the exchange rate. Either way, you’ll almost always save money by comparing money transfer specialists and avoiding your bank.
  • Watch the exchange rate markets
    Staying on top of currency exchange trends can help save you money. If the USD is gaining strength against the currency you want to send to, consider waiting to see how high it will go before you buy.

Hedging options

Hedging options are tools that can help you save more money when used correctly. These tools help you delay orders until the exchange rate is in your favor, create recurring transfers and even buy currency as a failsafe if the exchange rate is trending against you.

  • Limit orders. Your currency trade is executed only when a currency reaches a price you’ve set beforehand.

Learn more about limit orders

  • Forward contracts. Receive a guarantee that you can exchange money at a specified rate in the future.

Learn more about forward contracts

Some online money transfer specialists allow you to lock in exchange rates for your transfer, saving you the trouble of watching the markets daily.

Compare online money transfer specialist rates

The way to find the best exchange rates is to compare several money transfer providers at once. Enter the amount you want to send, select the currency you’re sending to and click Calculate to see live rates.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.831 EUR 4,154 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
Go to site Show details
$1 Same day USD 0.00 0.835 EUR 4,177 XE offers fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
$10 Within an hour USD 1.99 0.822 EUR 4,111 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.839 EUR
4,163
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.836 EUR 4,175 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Common mistakes to avoid

  • Transferring through banks or brick-and-mortar providers. These providers tend to charge high fees and offer poor exchange rates.
  • Forgetting to look at both fees and exchange rates. Providers usually make big money in these two categories. If a service charges no fees, be wary: It probably includes a huge margin on the exchange rate.
  • Not comparing providers. Many of the cheapest providers are online. Before settling on one, compare several to get the best rate.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $2,000 to Europe

Let’s say you need to send $2,000 to France. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of October 22, 2020.

Online money transfer specialist Bank transfer
Fee $3.99 $25 + additional correspondent bank fees
Exchange rate 1 USD = 0.842 EUR 1 USD = 0.801 EUR
Transfer speed Minutes 2-5 days
Amount received EUR 1,681 EUR 1,582
Verdict
  • Better value and faster
  • Slower and more expensive

The bank option is slower and more expensive, costing you almost 100 EUR more to send money. Although fees factor into this, the weaker exchange rate is where you really lose money on your transfer.

Bottom line

Currency exchange rates change frequently and are based on many things, including politics, global and national economies, natural disasters and more. Stay on top of the current exchange rates to save money on your international money transfer.

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