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Posted by Royal Sundaram on 03 May 2010
Commissions, credit card surcharges, ATM fees are some of the extras you may have to incur while exchanging currencies.How can you minimize these expenses and get the best exchange rate when travelling abroad?Here’s how you can stretch your money to the maximum on your next trip abroad and avoid those annoying fees.
Know the current exchange rate
This is the only way to know if you are getting the best exchange rate! Before you leave for your trip, check out the XE currency converter to get an idea of what your exchange rate should be.If you’re taking an extended trip, keep track of the rate periodically to know if there are any major changes.
Use Credit and ATM Cards
With no middlemen charging extra commission for the exchange, you are most often, bound to get the best interbank exchange rate when you use your credit/debit/ATM cards. This will usually be 2 to 7 percent better than the rates you get when exchanging cash or traveller’s checks. However, some banks charge fees for transactions made in foreign currencies. Try to use credit cards whenever possible for large purchases such as hotel bills, tickets and car rentals. Local restaurants and shops may also charge a fee for credit card transactions.
Don’t get lured by the exchange companies at train stations and airports
They are convenient, and sometimes (especially in an emergency after banking hours) indispensable, but they frequently charge very high prices in return for the convenience. If you need to get cash, and you can’t find an ATM, your best bet is to go to a large bank, post office or American Express office.
Shop around if you’re using the exchange kiosks, but the rate you get can vary even from bank to bank. Try at least two or three different places before you settle on one.
You can do this only if you get stuck changing money at a small vendor to get a better rate. However, it’s critical to know the exchange rate before you do this.
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