Most things about international travel have become fairly easy these days. Booking flights, finding a place to stay and even planning what you are going to do on a daily basis can all be done remotely with relative ease. Currency exchange is no different, even when dealing with the British Pound. Even in one of the financial capitals of the world, London has a number of options when it comes to finding a good deal. Here is everything you need to know about currency exchange in London.
What Rates to Expect
The pound has weakened a little recently. With Britain exiting the European Union, the rate of the sterling against the dollar has gone down but is likely to go up as uncertainty dissipates.
Therefore, it is always useful to keep abreast of what the rates are and any potential changes. That way, you can have a good sense of what you are spending in real terms.
The Best Ways to Exchange Currency
Exchanging your home currency to sterling is easy and can be done using a number of methods.
If you have an ATM card, you can use it to take out cash from the many ATMs in London. Keep in mind that you may be charged by your bank before you set off on your trip. You may also want to notify your bank in advance that you will be using your card in London to eliminate any surprises.
Alternatively, you can use your bank card directly for purchases with retailers. You then have the option of being charged in sterling or your own currency. Establishments in London will accept most major credit cards. Due to the threat of international fraud, most banks would like to be notified if you’re intending to do this. Otherwise, you may face the inconvenience of your card being blocked or cut up.
You can also bring cash. Having some cash for emergencies is usually a good idea. You can do this online before you go, at the port of exit, or at the port of entry.
As a general rule, you will get better rates in the country where the currency is based than you will if you get it before you leave the country from which you are departing.
Different outlets have different rates, so it’s worth looking around. There are often currency exchange places quite near to each other, including within banks.
You may be able to get commission-free deals if you order currency online, which could be a good option if you are converting a large amount of money.
In summary, currency exchange in London is a fairly straightforward affair. A little bit of research beforehand means you won’t be stung by exorbitant fees and will have a hassle-free trip. Always talk to your bank and keep an eye on the exchange rates if you want to pick the best time to get more bang for your buck.