View travel money companies: A to Z listing

A comprehensive list of travel money companies to exchange money in the UK.

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Which bank is best for currency exchange?

A bureau de change is not the only place where you can exchange foreign currency. Several of the UK’s high street banks also offer this service, although not necessarily in all of their branches. Some international banks, such as HSBC and Citibank also allow you to make free cash withdrawals from your international bank account using their ATMs.

The exchange rates on offer tend to change at least daily, but high street bank rates are rarely as good as those on offer from the most competitive bureaux de change.

How do I get the best exchange rate?

To get the best exchange rate, you’ll need to shop around, as rates are changing all the time. You can shop around by comparing the exchange rates of nearby bureaux de change, either in-branch or over the phone.

Alternatively, there are several websites that will perform this service for you, and recommend the best place to change currencies.

Below, we have listed some general tips to help ensure you get the best exchange rate.

  • Avoid currency conversation at the airport. The rates are nearly always worse than anywhere else.
  • Order your foreign currency online. Several bureaux de change offer better rates if you buy currency online. You can choose to pick up your currency or have it delivered. Either way though, you’ll need to give your provider time to arrange your order.
  • Avoid using your credit card to buy foreign currency. Your credit card provider will typically treat this as a cash withdrawal and apply a host of instant fees.

Is it better to withdraw cash abroad or exchange it before?

Some pre-paid cards, debit cards and credit cards allow you to withdraw cash abroad without paying any additional fees to do so. Provided you own one of these cards, you needn’t bulk at the prospect of doing so.

In most cases, your exchange rate when you do this will be based on the mid-market rate. This is the midpoint between the buy and sell rates from global markets. As such, it’s a very fair rate.

Having said that, it is possible to find a better rate by shopping around for the best rates from a bureau de change.

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