Best Foreign Currency Buy Back Options

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 17, 2023

If you are planning a trip overseas this summer, you may want to do a little research about exchanging your cash for local currency. Once you are back from your trip, you might want to exchange the unused cash you initially exchanged. Either way, you need to find the place that provides the best rates and service.

Currency exchange rates can eat into your budget if you are planning a trip, so it's important to find the best rate possible.

The most convenient places such as airports and train stations tend to charge the most expensive fees. Planning ahead before you have to rush to the airport will save you money and stress.

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Buy Back Options for You

To ensure you get the most out of your currency exchange experience, consider exploring these alternatives that can help you save money and avoid unnecessary fees.

Best Overall: Banks

The majority of banks will exchange your currency before and after your trip and are considered the best places for foreign exchange. They offer some of the best rates and lowest fees and are one of the most popular places for consumers. Exchanging money at a bank is simple and easy. Depending on the bank and the currency you need, you may need to ask the bank to request that currency ahead of time because it may not keep it in house.

Banks are widely considered the best place to exchange your currency. Although a small fee may be charged, the amount or percentage varies between banks. However, they tend to be the best and cheapest place for customers.


  • Offers some of the best exchange rates and lowest fees
  • Provides convenience for currency exchange before and after the trip
  • Widely trusted and considered safe for financial transactions


  • Small fees might be charged, varying between banks
  • Currency availability could be limited for certain currencies
  • Exchange rates can still vary among different banks

Best for Exchange Rate: Credit Unions

Banks are for-profit institutions, whereas credit unions reinvest profits to offer their customers the best service. They focus on offering their members low-interest loans and high-interest savings accounts. Credit unions are not-for-profits that are owned by their members and are considered to be extremely safe and reliable. You may already have a relationship with a banker at your credit union, which will facilitate the process.


  • Focuses on providing competitive exchange rates
  • Offers customer-focused services and member benefits
  • Established relationships with credit unions can streamline the process


  • Limited availability in comparison to banks or currency exchange kiosks
  • Not as widespread as banks or kiosks, especially in certain locations
  • Exchange rates might still be less favorable compared to specialized options

Best for Convenience: Bureau De Change

A Bureau De Change or a currency exchange kiosk is a business where customers can go to exchange one currency for another. They are often located in banks, airports, train stations or travel agencies where there is a high demand for currency exchange services.

They are prominent in cities that are major travel hubs. They profit by buying foreign currency and then selling the same currency at an exchange rate that benefits them, usually with a high markup. In addition, they may also charge a fee or commission for the service.


  • Conveniently located in travel hubs, such as airports and train stations
  • Immediate access to currency exchange services without the need for pre-order
  • Suitable for travelers seeking immediate currency conversion


  • Often charges high exchange rate markups
  • May also impose additional fees or commissions
  • Exchange rates may be less favorable compared to other options

Best for Safety: Traveler’s Checks

A traveler’s check was once the primary gold-standard alternative to hard currency. Traveler’s checks are typically used by people on vacation and are a safe alternative to using cash. They are a form of payment issued by financial institutions.

They can be purchased for a set amount chosen by the customer and used to purchase any goods or services abroad. It can easily be replaced, although electronics have impacted the product's popularity.


  • Offers safety and security similar to cash
  • Easily replaceable if lost or stolen
  • Accepted at various establishments and provides flexibility


  • Decreased popularity because of electronic payment alternatives
  • Limited acceptance at some locations
  • Inconvenient compared to modern digital payment methods

Best for Reliability: Prepaid cards

The popularity of prepaid cards has grown tremendously over recent years. Their convenience makes them available for use in all situations, such as groceries, everyday items or bill payments. You can buy them in the currency you need for your trip.

A customer can purchase a prepaid card and use it just like any regular debit card. They are an excellent budget and financial tool to handle your finances more efficiently and prevent potential overdrafts. Prepaid cards and be an ideal option if you want to gain control over your spending.


  • Provides convenience and control over spending
  • Available for various currencies and situations
  • Prevents overdrafts and helps manage finances effectively


  • Some prepaid cards may come with fees
  • Exchange rates and fees might impact the overall value
  • Not universally accepted in all locations

Features to Look for In Foreign Current Buy Backs

You’ll want to consider numerous factors before selling your foreign currency, and it can be challenging to keep track of it all. Here are some key features to watch out for before you get rid of your unused foreign currency.


Although currency exchange may only cost a few dollars, if you are a frequent traveler, it can add up to a considerable amount over time. At some banks, fees may not apply to some customers.

Frequent overseas travelers should go online and research a variety of currency buy back options to find the best exchange rates, lowest fees and most convenient methods.

Banks may add their own fees to the exchange rate, so you may not receive the exact exchange rate online. Speak with your bank first before making your decision.


Location makes a big difference, and sometimes you’ll choose to pay more to make it easier to pick up the cash.

Convenience is essential, especially for handling and exchanging cash. Certain banks may not be available near you. You may be able to arrange a pickup or delivery, for a fee, ensuring the process is as easy as possible.

Easy to Understand Rates and Fees

Fees and rates matter in choosing the right currency exchange. Some fees can be difficult to comprehend and hurt you in the long run because hidden charges may lurk in the fine print.

Make sure to research underlying or hidden fees you could potentially be hit with. In addition, ensure you are prepared to manage fees that could cut into your travel funds.


If you travel often, the fees may become excessive, and you may have issues with being able to exchange money as and when needed. If you opt for a prepaid card, you may run into problems that require you to speak to a customer service representative.

It is vital the option you choose an option with the best service — one that is ideal for your frequent travel requirements.

Services such as cash back, frequent travel cards or receiving the best rates can be offered to repeat purchase users. Not all banks and exchange rates will offer this benefit, but as a frequent flier or traveler, it may be a perk you are eligible for.

How to Exchange Foreign Currency

Exchanging foreign currency is not always a simple task, so understanding the steps to exchange and receive the best rates is important. Check out the steps below before setting off.

Ensure Method Chosen Has the Service Needed

Contact the bank, credit union or currency exchange kiosk to ensure they have the currency you need and provide an exchange service. Not all banks accept the currency you are hoping to exchange nor may the fees they charge be ideal.

The best thing to do is to check the service and fees online. However, in some cases, you can also call a customer service representative. In addition, to check rates, navigate to a currency exchange rate website. A currency exchange rate website can check how much you should receive and compare it to your bank.

Avoid Bad Conversion Rates and Understand Restrictions

Some of the worst places to exchange money include airports, hotels and tourist areas. The conversion rates are designed to favor the house at the expense of the traveler.

They have some of the highest fees possible, so ensure you are aware of the current exchange rates if you plan to exchange your foreign currency.

If you plan to travel to a country with potential political or economic issues, then your bank may not be able to access this currency. Restrictions may apply, and you may only be able to access this currency once in the country. Make sure to verify beforehand.

Choose Your Preferred Option

Make sure to choose the option that best fits your needs. Most people will prefer an excellent rate, but that may not be ideal for you at the current time. Weigh the pros and cons of each and then decide what to go with.

Arrange the Exchange

Finally, you need to arrange the exchange. If you want to pick the money up, then you need to get in contact with the necessary company, whether that’s online or by phone, and arrange the exchange and price. If you choose to head to a bank, credit union or kiosk, then locate the ideal option for you.

It is essential to plan ahead when you are trying to exchange currency.

How You Can Improve Your Finances

Everyone hopes to improve their finances, even the richest people. Here are some steps you can try to build your finances.

Saving Money

Building a savings account can be a long-term solution to short-term liabilities. Making small contributions each month to your fund will build up a healthy savings account over time that can be accessed in times of need.

The future can be uncertain, and costly problems can occur at any time. A savings account will help over the long term and prevent you from needing to borrow money at high rates.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

It’s essential to understand your spending habits. Your debt-to-income ratio examines how much you owe each month compared to how much you earn. For example, how much are you spending on rent, mortgage or other debts can determine how much disposable income is left.

Planning your spending with your debt in mind helps you develop better spending habits and be more self-aware. In addition, you may find you can cut back on unnecessary purchases and recurring charges.


Investing can be a positive experience for anyone. It does not matter if you have little knowledge or background. You can always learn more.

If you can stay committed to investing over the long term, it may pay off for you. Investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds can build your balance up over time. Developing a strategy for investing in individual stocks can produce higher returns.

Paying Off Debts

Paying your bills and reducing debt help you manage your money more wisely. You will benefit from avoiding late fees when you prioritize your spending. Meanwhile, long-term benefits include improving your credit score, which leads to lower rates for loans.

Tailored Financial Choices

When exchanging foreign currency, it is important to consider rates, fees and convenience. Banks, credit unions, a Bureau De Change and prepaid cards are options to consider. Traveler's checks are less popular because of electronic alternatives. Choose the option that best suits your needs to effectively manage your finances.

Frequently Asked Questions


Who will buy back foreign currency?


Unless you plan to keep your foreign currency as a souvenir, you can exchange it back to your preferred currency. Usually, the easiest place to perform a currency exchange transaction is at a  bank, credit union or Bureau De Exchange. They provide currency conversion services, but it’s important to research each to make sure you receive the best rate.


Who buys back euros at the best rates?


Travel FX is a leading travel money company and consistently offers great rates for currency buybacks. It is rated five stars on Trustpilot and tops the polls for consumer satisfaction. 


Does the post office offer a good exchange rate?


The post office is one of the most popular choices for currency exchange. However, you may want to avoid it if you want to get the best deal possible.

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