If you are an expat living on the Continent, or if you’re simply planning a holiday there, you may be wondering how to get the best Pounds to Euros exchange rate. This is an important consideration, because you can lose a great deal of money if you are not careful in how you exchange your currency. There are several options for currency exchange: changing your Pounds into Euros at high street exchange services, at banks, or at foreign exchange brokers. Each of these options will be discussed in turn:

Option 1: Changing Your Pounds into Euros at a High Street Exchange Service
This is possibly the easiest options for most people. Exchanging your Pounds into Euros is often as simple as walking down a high street in any major city and finding an exchange service. They are usually quite common and easy to find, and for the sake of convenience, are often located in the touristy areas of a city, close by the various sites that attract visitors and locals alike. The problem with these services is that they are generally more expensive than other options, sometimes charging you 20% or more to change your Pounds into Euros. This is real money you will be losing, and if you are changing only a small amount of currency, perhaps it isn’t that big of a concern, but if you are changing a large amount of money, think carefully before proceeding. Always know what the actual market rate is at the time you need to change currency, then compare the rate the high street exchange service is offering. It is also a good idea to compare rates at several services before choosing one if you are going to take this route.

Option 2: Changing Your Money at a Bank
The good news is that changing your Pounds to Euros at a bank is typically less expensive than using a high street exchange service. Still, the same guidelines apply. Always know what the current market rate is for a Pound to Euro conversion and compare it with the rates you are being offered. Again, it is always wise to shop around amongst several banks to find the best deal.

Option 3: Using a Foreign Exchange Broker to Change Money
This is by far the safest option when dealing with larger amounts of currency. Foreign exchange brokers offer better rates than high street exchange services and most banks because they concentrate only on currency exchange. They specialise in changing larger amounts of money, which is particularly helpful for expats living abroad who need access to enough money to cover their living expenses. Additionally, foreign exchange brokers are able to time the market in an intelligent way to get the best possible rate for your transaction. Banks offer currency exchange as a minor aspect of what they do, whereas foreign exchange brokers are more experienced in dealing with changing vast amounts of currency each and every day. Therefore, brokers can offer valuable insights and advice on market trends and updates that banks do not.

Other Options:
One additional method not discussed here is using local ATM’s or cash machines. Although often convenient this method is often risky as it not only depends on the charges made by the ATM, but also by your card issuer. These charges change regularly so if in doubt you should contact your bank to find out what fees you will pay. More information on the best cards to use abroad is available at MoneySavingExpert.com.

Posted 15Dec09