Despite consumer confidence hitting an all-time low, the number of people traveling overseas continues to grow year on year. With an increase in competition amongst currency exchange providers from the likes of Travelex and Transferwise, more and more independent retailers are providing foreign cash to holidaymakers right across the world.
More so, consumers are choosing to purchase foreign currency online over in-store due to better rates and the added convenience. This article explores potential pitfalls to look out for when purchasing your travel money online before heading overseas. Whether you’re searching for currency exchange in Sydney or want to buy travel money online in Central Europe this guide can help you get the most value out of your spending money.
1. Foreign Cash vs. Travel Card
Whilst both can cost the same amount and provide the same function it can be worthwhile comparing the pros and cons of foreign cash vs. a prepaid travel card. Whilst foreign cash can and will likely be widely accepted anywhere you go, you have to manage your money carefully. Carrying loads of cash overseas can be a daunting experience, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.
However, with a prepaid travel card, you can manage your funds a lot easier. The only thing to look out for here is making sure your card is widely accepted within your chosen travel destinations. Prepaid travel cards can also be limited to certain currencies. Carrying a mix of both foreign cash and a travel card can sometimes be a winning solution.
2. Currency exchange Commission Fees & Costs
The majority of online currency exchange providers will not advertise what their commission fees are in black and white. A lot of the time, banks, travel agents and other currency exchange providers work their commission fees into the exchange rate itself.
It can be highly valuable to try and understand the full costs of purchasing or transferring currency online before making a purchase. Becoming fully aware of what, if any commission fees you may have to fork out for can help with your decision making process. The best part of buying currency online is that rates across multiple sites can easily be compared against one another. Making your final decision that little bit easier.
3. Currency Exchange Delivery Fees
If you opt to get your travel money delivered directly to your door, it can be useful to check out the delivery costs involved. Whilst most providers offer a flat fee for getting your currency safely to through your mailbox, some rates can vary.
It’s worth checking across the internet for free-delivery codes or some dedicated currency exchange stores may offer free delivery if you purchase a certain amount of currency. Either way, if you end up forking out for delivery fees you may have ended up getting a better rate in-store at a cheaper cost.
4. Reputation & Customer Reviews
A higher percentage of consumers are checking out customer testimonials and reviews before making purchases online. Exchanging currency should be no different. It’s worth reviewing sites such as Tripadvisor or Google reviews to see how companies hold-up when it comes to their foreign exchange services.
With any kind of feedback, it’s worth taking each review with a pinch of salt. Making sure that existing consumers are getting the rates they have paid for as well as a good level of service is usually a good indicator.
5. Physical Stores
Companies with a physical store presence are also great trust signals when it comes to choosing a currency exchange provider. Banks and travel agencies that you know have physical stores are likely to provide a great level of customer service.
However, sometimes these places offer a foreign exchange as a secondary service. This means that their exchange rates may not be as competitive as a dedicated currency exchange provider.
6. Foreign Cash: Click and Collect
Providers that offer a click and collect services can give you the opportunity to pick up your travel money in person. Not only can this instill confidence in you the consumer, but you can also pick up your currency at a time that suits you.
If you know the option to collect your travel money is near your house or work location, all the more reason to collect your travel money on your lunch break or at the weekend. This can be especially convenient if you know you’re going to be out of the house during the day. The majority of reputable home-delivery currency services require someone to be present to sign for the order.
7. Foreign Currency Exchange Delivery Times
Whilst ordering online can save you heaps of time (as opposed to hunting down the best rate in the middle of the city), it is worthwhile knowing how long it might take to arrive at your door. Most businesses will offer an estimated delivery time.
If you need foreign currency urgently, buying your travel money offline and in-store could be the way to go. However, if you’re not in a rush and don’t want to waste the time and money travel into the CBD, buying currency online is the way to go.
8. Regulated Currency Exchange Providers
Whether you’re at home or overseas, many countries have financial regulators that monitor currency exchange providers closely to ensure that the level of service they are providing is adequate and above board. You can usually find out if they are a licensed currency provider through an ID or membership number to a nationally or government recognized agency.
Making sure that you’re buying currency from a regulated money exchanger will ensure that the currency you are purchasing online is safe, secure and legitimate.
Ultimately, if you’re new to buying your travel money online and want to avoid the hassle of buying currency in-store, shopping for foreign currency online could be the way to go. Taking a handful of these useful tips into consideration should help you in making your first purchase for foreign cash.