How to Exchange Foreign Money for US Dollars

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Banks exchange currency for a traveller.
Banks exchange currency for a traveller. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Whether you’re returning from a trip abroad or coming to the United States for a visit, you’ll find that presenting foreign money of any sort for a purchase is likely to result in your leaving empty handed. In the U.S., dollars are necessary at every level for doing business, so it’s a necessity to know how to exchange foreign money for U.S. dollars as well. Fortunately, the best solution is an easy one, as all you need is a bank in your area that handles the particular foreign money in question.

Contact the major banks in your area by phone to locate one that has a conversion desk that deals with exchanging foreign currency. Confirm that the branch exchanges the specific currency you have in your possession. Also, confirm that it handles transactions from non-customers if you do not have an account with that particular bank.

Check the current exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the foreign currency. You can check exchange rates online at financial websites such as Yahoo! Finance or MSN Money. Set the exchange rate converter on the site to convert the specific foreign currency type to U.S. dollars and then input the amount of currency you possess into the converter to determine how much the currency is currently worth in dollars.

Take the currency to the bank you found with the conversion desk. Have the bank convert the funds into U.S. dollars for you. The bank will charge you a fee for the conversion process.

Tips & Warnings

  • Larger international banks often offer the best exchange rates in an area.

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