With the ease of travel and communication, the world has gotten smaller. Previously, buying international currency was the domain of high-end currency traders or niche collectors. Today, the interest in foreign currency is growing thanks to easier travel and new online foreign currency exchange platforms, so it’s never been easier to buy foreign currency online.
But just because it’s easier than ever doesn’t mean it’s truly simple. If you’re a collector or you’re planning that next trip overseas, you might be wondering “how can I get foreign currency delivered directly to my front door?” In this article, we will discuss the options you have when you want to purchase or exchange foreign currency.
There are multiple options where you can buy foreign currency, but options for getting foreign currency delivered to your door are surprisingly limited. You would think in the days of Uber, Amazon, DoorDash, and grocery delivery that getting currency delivered would be simple, but it’s more tricky than you can imagine.
You can buy popular foreign currencies from your local bank. This can be a convenient option, but you must go to your bank in person to do an exchange. The fees also tend to be rather high. If you have spent any time with a currency calculator, you’ll see that market rates and spreads are much smaller than what you’ll get at a bank when you need to exchange hard currency.
They will follow market rates, but they will create a big spread that allows them to make a decent profit on the transaction. If your bank does provide an ordering service, you’ll need to place the order and it could take 5 - 7 days for the currency to be delivered to the local branch.
Once the order is delivered, you’ll have to go to the bank to pick up the order. In addition, banks typically only deal in the most popular currencies, rather than exotics like Iraqi dinar or Vietnamese dong.
This used to be a convenient way to order currency, but due to COVID much of this has changed. As of the publication of this post, many popular websites are still shut down and don’t currently operate in the US and Canada due to the global pandemic. Now that a simple way to buy foreign currency in person has been impacted by COVID, many other brokers have followed suit.
Although the effects of the pandemic have more or less stabilized and we’ve learned how to live with it, there’s no real good time frame on when these options will be available again. Finding brokers that deliver to the US can be difficult at this time. You can find brokers that deliver to the UK and Australia and even Canada, but there are limited options in the US.
If you aren’t looking to own hard currency, but are happy with digital offerings, you can still find sites that allow you to buy and sell currency digitally. These are good options if you are a trader, but if you want to hold hard currency for collecting, traveling, or investing, you will not be able to. These are electronic trades only.
Many airports provide currency exchange services. These can be convenient if you are a traveler, but they won’t be delivered to your front door. The major negative with airport kiosks is that you will never get the best rates, and spreads can be very high. The other negative is that they may not trade in all types of currency, so you may not find what you need.
These kiosks only carry the same popular currencies as banks, but they charge more. They also may not be able to exchange foreign currency back into US dollars, depending on the popularity of that foreign currency. Travelers should prepare ahead of time before visiting their airport and determine how much currency they'll need before they enter the airport.
In short, there are almost always better alternatives to airport kiosks. Sure, if the country you are traveling to doesn’t accept dollars and you didn’t prepare ahead of time, you may be forced to exchange a certain amount to pay for airport fees or a taxi to your hotel. But exchange only what is necessary and find a better option as you settle in.
In case you are traveling, you sometimes have the option of mostly circumventing exchange services and paying by debit or credit card. However, that means that your destination country must be card-friendly. Some countries, like Norway, are digitilized and this wouldn’t be an issue, but many popular tourist destinations in Asia rarely accept payments by card and it’s necessary for tourists to carry cash.
But even if you are visiting a country where paying by card is common, you have another issue to contend with - foreign transaction fees. Depending on your bank’s policy and the card you have, you could be charged a foreign transaction fee of 3% on every payment you make. Your best bet is to call your bank before you travel and ask about their foreign transaction fee policy.
US First Exchange is an online currency exchange that has made the process of ordering hard currency and getting it delivered to you easily and simple. Here are the 6 steps to buy foreign currency online and have the money delivered right to your house:
That’s it! You can have foreign currency delivered to your front door in less time than it would take to make the order from your bank and wait for delivery. Market rates and fees are more favorable to you than you would receive as well.
At US First Exchange, our goal is to be a continuous source of education about foreign exchange and the wide variety of currencies in the marketplace. We've created our company so that you can buy foreign currency online and have it delivered to your door in 24 - 48 hours. All shipments are fully insured for home delivery, and we pride ourselves on having the industry’s lowest spreads.
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