Currency Exchange: Pros & Cons of Purchasing In-store vs. Online

A Pakistani dealer counts US dollars at a currency exchange shop in Karachi on November 30, 2018. - Pakistan's rupee plunged almost five percent to a record low on November 30 after what appeared to be a sixth devaluation by the central bank in the past year as the country struggles with an acute balance of payment crisis. (Photo by ASIF HASSAN / AFP)

Whether you’re considering exchanging currency online or in-store, it can be important to understand both the pros and cons. Whether you’re heading out on that next trip of a lifetime or travelling overseas on business, getting your travel money sorted before you depart is a must. 

Leaving it till the last minute or not knowing where to start can make a huge difference when it comes to how much foreign cash might end up in your wallet. In this article, we take a look at how to get the best rate, and how you can potentially save heaps of money on your currency exchange before you depart overseas. 

Saving Time & Money

There is no doubt that getting your travel money sorted in-store takes time. Whether you decide to purchase your foreign cash in a bank, travel agency or physical currency shop, there’s no quick and easy way about it. If you need to take time out of your weekend, evening or lunch break, there can sometimes never be a convenient time to purchase your travel money. 

Many consumers across the globe are starting to purchase their foreign cash online. Why? Sorting your travel money out online is convenient, fast and hassle-free. Exchanging currency in-store can take several hours out of your day, whereas buying foreign cash online can take a matter of minutes.

Beat the queues

One reason why so many people shop online is to avoid the hustle and bustle of physical stores, whilst still being able to look at a multitude of products in a short period of time. With currency, you’re really only after one product, it’s the rate you need to look out for. With many physical currency exchange stores operating out of one kiosk, chances are you might encounter a queue.

If you decide to buy currency online, there’s no need to join the end of an already busy queue. You can search around for the best rate and when you’re ready to purchase your right at the front. Provided you’re not departing the week of purchase, you should be able to collect or get your currency delivered to your door within five business days (average delivery time across multiple online currency exchange providers).

Ultimately, if time is tight and you’ve left getting your travel money to the last minute, then purchasing in-store will ensure that you get your currency when you need it.

Avoid commission fees

When you purchase currency in-store it can be very difficult to understand all the fees involved. Often, consumers find themselves at the counter clueless about what rate they are actually getting and will only realise how much currency they will get at the time of exchange.

This is not the case when you buy currency online. Given the fact that you have time to research and fully understand rates, delivery costs and commission fees this puts you in good stead. Looking into all the costs involved in your transaction before you make it can make a huge difference when it comes to exchanging your money into foreign currency.

Comparing Currency Exchange Rates Made Easy and are two great comparison tools that anyone can use to compare a whole range of different financial products. These tools aren’t readily available when you try to compare currency exchange rates across multiple banks, exchange stores and travel agencies.

The ability to compare rates in a matter of moments can help take away the headaches and hassles out of trying to keep track of rates across different physical stores.  

Carrying Out Thorough Research Can Help

At the end of the day, carrying out extensive research can help with your final decision before you decide to purchase online or in-store. Whilst buying currency in-store may not get you the best rate, carrying out thorough research online can. 

If you decide that you still want to purchase in-store over online, looking across comparison sites as well as individual websites can help. Check each currency provider’s exchange rates, commission fees, and customer service reviews carefully. Once you feel like you’ve found the best rate, whether in-store or online exchange your currency at a time that suits you.