Exchanging Foreign Currency at Your Bank

If you’re looking to exchange foreign currency, banks are one of the obvious choices. While you can also buy or sell foreign currency at money exchange centers, a bank is likely to be more reliable and have less in terms of hidden fees. In order to exchange foreign currency at your bank, you can follow a few simple steps.

Step 1Research Your Options

While most large and more commercial bank branches now offer foreign currency exchange services, some smaller banks may not offer this service, especially if you want to buy or sell less traded currencies. Call some banks in your area to ensure that they offer this service. Verify any restrictions the banks may place on foreign exchange transactions. For example, you may be required to have an account at the specific bank where you exchange the foreign currency. You may also want to make sure that the bank will be able to complete the transaction: there may be limits on how much foreign currency a branch is allowed to buy or sell in a particular transaction.

Step 2
Search for the Best Exchange Rate

Before you go to the bank, find out the rough exchange rate for your currency. Exchange rates change every minute, but you can go to a number of websites to get the current ones. Some banks may have the exchange rates for different currencies posted over their teller counters and may post them on the Internet as well. Remember that the exchange rate may fluctuate slightly between the time you check it and when you convert the money. You may also want to ask the bank the exchange rate for the amount of foreign currency you want to buy or sell, as rates can vary based on the amount to be exchanged.

Step 3Make the Exchange

Some larger banks will have separate tellers who deal primarily in foreign currency. You need to tell the teller the currency you want to convert to with the prevailing exchange rate, and he or she will handle the transaction for you. When converting large amounts, you may be required to disclose the source of the funds.

Step 4
Verify the Receipt

Once the transaction has been made, the teller will hand over the exchanged currency along with a receipt of the transaction. You should count the cash carefully and also read the receipt to make sure the exchange rate on the receipt is the same as posted by the bank. Also check the service and processing fees charged for this transaction.
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