Foreign Currency Exchange Banking Explained


Foreign currency exchange banking refers to the exchange of one currency for another currency done on behalf of a bank customer for a fee. The trading department of a bank also earns money from the difference in currency prices that are bought and sold.

Customer Accommodations

  • If you need to make a payment in a foreign currency or if you are traveling abroad to a country that uses its own resident currency, then make a trip to your local bank in order to exchange your U.S. dollars for the amount of the currency that you need. This is called a foreign currency transaction. When you require foreign currency, you are buying the currency of your choice and selling your U.S. dollars in exchange.

Exchange Rates

  • Whenever your bank receives a request for foreign exchange, a foreign exchange conversion transaction must take place. For example, if you are traveling to Italy, exchange your U.S. dollars for euros. In this case, your bank will buy your dollars and sell you the amount of euros required at the exchange rate offered by the bank. Let us suppose that you need 5,000 euros and the exchange rate between the two currencies is .90 euros to the dollar. In this case, you give your bank $5,555.55 in exchange for euros (5,000 euros divided by .90 = $5,555.55). The bank charges a fee for its services and also makes a profit from the difference in the buy and sell exchange rate.

Foreign Trade

  • Foreign currency exchange banking is very important to foreign trade transactions. The payment for the purchase or sale of goods and services must be transacted in the functional home currency of the countries involved. Many large transactions require the creation of foreign currency loans that must be guaranteed and hedged in order to prevent losses from the movement of exchange rates. These types of transactions usually involve very large multinational banks and central banks.


Foreign Exchange Dealer

  • The foreign currency exchange market is decentralized and is based upon foreign exchange dealers located throughout the world. Prices are determined by local conditions and competition. Many banks maintain a foreign exchange dealer operation, which can be very profitable because dealers make their money based upon the difference in price at which they acquire and sell the foreign exchange.

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  • Photo Credit el cambio del dinero image by caironbohemio from russian passport image by PaulPaladin from Change image by YvesBonnet from oil rig at sunset image by Alan James from bond of the state loan, russia, 1951 year image by air from bank image by Pefkos from
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