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Bank of Hawaii Foreign Currency Exchange and Better Alternatives

Nov 18, 2022
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The Bank of Hawaii Corporation does not offer currency exchange services that allow you to hold foreign cash. If you are looking for a platform for making payments in foreign currencies and for saving foreign-denominated bank notes, then you will be out of luck as well.

Banks use weak exchange rates and often charge commission fees. Bank of Hawaii currency exchange will not be your best option for currency exchange when you need foreign currency for your travels abroad and for sending money abroad. Even for business clients, better international business solutions exist for you. In this guide, we will show you cheaper, faster, and more user-friendly currency exchange services for travel, cash exchange, international money transfers, and business payments.

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Here are better options based on your needs:

  • Travel: Instead of exchanging cash from Bank of Hawaii, we think Revolut is the cheapest and most convenient way to get foreign currencies at the live exchange rate. | Read the full review.
  • Money Transfer: Remitly consistently ranks on Monito as one of the cheapest services worldwide, making it one of the best for international money transfers.
  • Business: Unlike Bank of Hawaii, Revolut Business offers transparent mid-market rates for cross-border payments and quality team management software. | Read the full review.

Foreign Currency For Travel

If you are a retail customer who wants foreign cash for your travels, then we highly recommend you avoid using Bank of Hawaii currency exchange services. Large American banks and credit unions like Bank of Hawaii charge two very large fees, one that is transparent and another that is hidden:

  • Bank Fee: This is a transparent fee that banks charge for the service. Bank of Hawaii does not offer foreign exchange services.
  • Exchange Rate Margin: While some banks may waive their flat fee, all of them will levy this hidden fee. At any given moment, there is a live mid-market rate between two currencies. Bank of Hawaii does not have an exchange rate schedule because it does not offer foreign exchange services.

Hands down, the best way to get foreign currency is with a multi-currency account offered by a fintech platform like Revolut. Digitally accessible via a smartphone app, Revolut uses an industry-low exchange rate.

For popular corridors, like USD to GBP, Revolut's margin may be as low as 0.02%. It even comes with a debit card, which instantly accesses your 30+ pots of foreign currencies. Revolut allows you to withdraw up to $1,200 per month from out-of-network ATMs without fees. After that, there will be a 2% fee per withdrawal.

The Revolut Multi-Currency Card offers multi-currency debit cards to customers for free when they sign up. Your card should be shipped to you for free within 7 business days. If you need foreign currency for travel, plan this ahead of your trip if possible:

  1. Link your bank account details to the multi-currency account;
  2. Top up money into the account online or by mobile app;
  3. Convert the balance into your desired foreign currency;
  4. Pay zero fees per conversion;
  5. Exchange at the mid-market rate if under your free limit;
  6. Use your card like a local, paying no foreign fees.

Monito Currency Exchange Travel Tips

The above-mentioned digital multi-currency accounts are excellent options for buying foreign currency. To make your money go as far as it can, keep these additional travel tips in mind.

  1. Use Debit Cards at ATMs:
    We recommend using debit cards at ATMs abroad because the exchange rate used by MasterCard, Visa, and others will be stronger than Bank of Hawaii currency exchange, airport kiosks, and credit unions.
  2. Use Cards That Waive Foreign Transaction Fees:
    Two of the best on the market are the Revolut Multi-Currency Debit Card and the Wise Multi-Currency Debit Card.
  3. Don't Use Credit Cards at ATMs:
    Feel free to rack up those credit card points at point-of-sale transactions. Just avoid using credit cards at ATMs because cash advances accrue a higher interest.
  4. Pay in the Local Currency:
    If prompted by a payment machine, always choose the local currency (i.e. USD in the US, EUR in the EU, GBP in the UK, etc). Learn more about how to avoid dynamic currency conversions.
  5. Avoid Airport Bureaux de Change and ATMs in Tourist Areas:
    Instead, find a trustworthy Allpoint ATM or a Global ATM Alliance bank for free withdrawals. As a general principle, withdraw cash from ATMs connected to a legit bank and pay the fixed $2 to $5 fee instead of using a machine on a street corner.

Sending Money Abroad

You can also use Bank of Hawaii foreign currency exchange to send money abroad via international wire transfers. If you have an account with Bank of Hawaii, then you can go to your local banker to enact a wire transfer.

Just the like the cash exchange services, Bank of Hawaii will charge you two expensive fees for sending wire transfers by SWIFT:

  1. Bank fee: $75;
  2. Hidden exchange rate margin: Mark-ups typically range from 4%-7%.

Online money transfer services are cheaper, faster, safer, and more transparent alternatives to Bank of Hawaii currency exchange, which is why we recommend them without reservation. They are excellent options for online payments abroad or sending remittances to family members overseas.

On Monito's comparison engine from November 2021 to November 2022, Remitly ranked as the overall cheapest for transfers from the United States.

While MoneyGram ranked second overall and Wise ranked third overall for transfers from the USA, rates often vary by destination. And since fee schedules change all the time, we recommend using Monito's comparison engine to find the cheapest exchange rates in real-time:

Find cheaper rates than Bank of Hawaii:

Business Payments

Bank of Hawaii does not offer a business checking account to its customers. Other big American banks, however, do have access to global capital markets, credit, loans, and other debt instruments for important corporate activities.

For other business owners, Bank of Hawaii might not be the best option for you. Neobanks (also called challenger banks) offer some of the easiest-to-use and lowest-cost international business bank accounts on the market today. Their accounts will help you do business with suppliers overseas and transact with your customer base abroad.

International Business Alternatives to Bank of Hawaii

All the neobanks we review on Monito are fully regulated and manage segregated bank accounts with licensed partner banks. Read our full article on the best international business account solutions to learn more about these providers:

  1. Revolut Business — 🏆 Best Overall for International Business Banking
  2. Payoneer — Best for E-Commerce
  3. Wise Business — Most Bank Account Details
  4. Novo — Best All-Rounder in the USA
  5. Brex — Best for Neobank Business Credit Card

Frequently Asked Questions About Bank of Hawaii Currency Exchange

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Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

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