Currency exchange comparison, why?

Currency exchange rates (also called foreign exchange rates, forex rate, or FX rates) fluctuate 24 hours a day except weekends according to the demand and supply on the foreign exchange market. A lot has been written about currency exchange rates and finding the best time to convert money. Great websites will also provide you with currency converter tools:

But to understand why currency exchange comparison makes sense, you need to understand that the exchange rate that you see on Google or XE is the mid-market rate. It might be really different than the rate you will receive from your bank, a FX broker or a money transfer operator when you actually convert your money.

The mid-market rate is the mid-point between the demand and supply for a currency in the foreign exchange market. It’s often called the real rate or the fairest exchange rate possible. TransferWise offers a great illustrated explanation.

Currency exchange comparison illustrated by TransferWise
Credit: TransferWise

Bank and financial institutions use this rate between them, but unfortunately it’s not the rate individuals and small businesses are offered.

The difference between the exchange rate offered to you and the mid-market = the currency exchange rate margin.

You can read more about this hidden costs here.

So it makes sense to compare currency exchange rates because each bank, money transfer operator or FX broker can offer you the rate that they want. The further it is from the mid-market, the more money goes from your pocket to theirs.

For example, if you would like to transfer 1000 GBP from the United-Kingdom to United States in USD (today the 23 November 2016):

  • Barclays’ exchange rate is: 1 GBP = 1.2005 GBP
  • The mid-market is: 1 GBP = 1.23930 GBP

You can see that for each pound sterling you convert, Barclays will keep 0.0388 cents. You might think it’s not much, but when you convert 1,000 GBP to USD it’s a hidden cost of 38.8 GBP. As the currency exchange rate margin is usually a percentage, the absolute cost will grow as you send higher amounts.

That’s why currency exchange comparison is a must if you want to save money!

Currency exchange comparison, how?

To compare currency exchange rates, you can either:

and then manually compare all their offers.

But it’s a long process and you might be missing out on good deals. That’s why we recommend you tu use a comparison tool like Monito where you can see all the services ranked by price (including the hidden currency exchange rate margin), speed of transfer and customer reviews.