Getting ready for the holidays? Here are a few tips on safely changing money abroad:

Blog

Getting ready for the holidays? Here are a few tips on safely changing money abroad:

At this time of year, everyone’s thoughts turn to their holidays. Travelling is a great way to discover new places, meet interesting people, and have a chance to truly relax. The last thing you want to happen, therefore, is to fall victim to a fraud attempt, especially when you are unfamiliar with a country and its currency, and you may be carrying more cash than usual since you will need it for sightseeing, restaurants, bars or shopping.

When you are abroad, paying with your credit card is a very easy and comfortable way to settle bills. Unfortunately, however, not all businesses accept credit cards and sometimes technical problems with card reading devices or ATMs make it impossible to use plastic money. It is important, therefore, to ensure that you have enough cash in the local currency to avoid being stranded without any money.

Changing money is a service that is provided by many different operators and banks. However, it often has its pitfalls, especially if you are offered money by people stopping you in the street. This is a sure-fire way of being scammed. They could change your money into outdated, invalid banknotes, which are completely worthless, or even give you wrong and valueless currency instead of the correct local banknotes. Another possibility is that they will give you counterfeit money and in that case you may even get into trouble yourself when trying to use it. And, additionally, you are an easy victim for dealers who can scam you in the counting process – you may be shown the correct amount, but then be distracted by someone passing by, and without your attention the dealer takes back a few notes. These are all common practices.
But getting too little for your money can always happen, especially when paying in Euro or US Dollars in restaurants, bars, shops, taxis and other businesses. You may be able to pay in your currency and it will be automatically changed to the local money, but very often you get a very bad exchange rate. Thus, using this service may be easy, but on the other hand, you end up paying too much.

To avoid any problems when changing money it is good to know the most common traps when changing money abroad. Really, the most important way to be safe is to only use reliable professional exchange operators or banks and then pay in the local currency rather than in Euro or US Dollars. And be sure to look at what should be clearly-stated exchange rates for buying and selling a foreign currency, wherever you are – in most countries, it is the law that these rates be displayed clearly (if they are not, then be careful).

Interchange is a reliable partner for money exchange, having more than 150 branches across 15 different countries. The company operates cash exchange offices and ATMs at 9 major airports as well as many of the most popular city centres, including Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Rome, Granada, Gdansk, Krakow, Florence and Barcelona.

Enjoy your travels!