Find and Compare the Best Exchange Rates: Monito's Guide
Co-Founder of Monito and money transfer expert, François has been helping Monito’s users navigate the jungle of money transfer fees, bad exchange rates and tricks for the last ten years.
Monito's Managing Editor, Byron has spent several years writing extensively about financial- and migration-related topics.
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Whether you're sending an international money transfer or travelling abroad, every time you or your money cross a border, you'll very likely be paying a hefty currency exchange fee caused by a poor exchange rate. Ultimately, these exchange rates mean that you get less foreign currency for each pound, dollar, or euro that you send or spend abroad.
While good exchange rates are out there, they can be challenging to find, with many people understandably finding themselves unsure about where even to begin. Fortunately, Monito's expert reviews and analyses, as well as our real-time comparison engine, allow you to discover the best exchange rates to suit your individual needs.
In this guide, you'll discover how to find and compare exchange rates on the market to find the best one for you, regardless of whether you're travelling or transferring abroad:
What You'll Find in This Guide
Find the Best Exchange Rates for Transfers Abroad
Are you sending money to your loved ones abroad? Or perhaps you're a business that needs to pay freelancers or suppliers in another currency? Whatever your needs, good exchange rates can be difficult to come by, and you may find yourself having to wade through a jungle of international money transfer fees and hidden exchange margins just to be charged outrageously by your bank or currency exchange provider.
Find the best international exchange rates using Monito's smart comparison tools and expert advice for sending money abroad. In general, you can be sure to get the best money exchange rate simply by following these three steps before every transfer:
Step 1 — Compare Exchange Rates
To find the best that the market has to offer, begin by comparing exchange rates quoted by different providers, and save up to 95% in total fees compared to your bank.
To get the job done, compare the cheapest ways to send money internationally on Monito's real-time comparison engine below. By entering your transfer amount, your country, and your beneficiary's country, we'll offer you up-to-the-minute exchange rates from all the top money transfer services across the globe:
Compare Exchange Rates
Step 2 — Consider Your Transfer Method
When sending money abroad, the exchange rates you're offered can vary significantly based on whether you're sending the money as a bank transfer, or whether you're sending it for cash pick-up — the two main methods for sending and receiving international money transfers:
Usually the slightly cheaper option, bank transfers allow your recipient to receive money directly into their bank account. Compare the best exchange rates for bank transfers by selecting the "Transfer to a bank account" tab (left) on our comparison engine results page.
While cash pick-ups (right) tend to be more expensive than bank transfers, this is only sometimes because they're offered at poorer exchange rates. Much of the time, the exchange rate remains the same, whereas the fixed fees are higher.
Step 3 — Choose the Right Service Type
In most cases, one of the many international money transfer services that we display on our comparison engine will offer a money exchange rate to suit your needs.
However, when it comes to sending a substantial amount of money abroad (i.e. upwards of US$5,000), then these services tend to be outmatched by specialist services known as foreign exchange brokers, which negotiate a favourable exchange rate on your behalf:
On our comparison engine, forex brokers are featured in their very own tab (left), when applicable. Be sure to select this tab if you're planning on making a very large transfer.
Follow Live Exchange Rates
Compare Exchange Rates — The Top Currencies
To find the best international exchange rates in real-time for a pair of currencies, in particular, take a look at the major world currencies and their popular trading pairs below:
Sending US dollars?
The US dollar is the most traded currency in the world. Compare the services that offer the best exchange rates for the Indian rupee, and other major currencies including the Canadian dollar, Euro, Mexican peso, Colombian peso, Nigerian naira, Philippine peso, Pakistani rupee, Argentine peso, or the British pound.
With 19 European countries making up the Eurozone, it's no wonder that the Euro is world's second biggest currency. Compare the services that offer the best exchange rates for the US dollar, Indian rupee, Canadian dollar, Colombian peso, Brazilian real, Nigerian naira, Argentinian peso, or the Russian ruble.
Sending British pounds?
The British pound sterling is among the top-five of the most traded currencies in the world. Compare the cheapest services that offer exchange rates between the British pound and the Polish złoty, Indian rupee, Pakistani rupee, Euro, US dollar, Nigerian naira, or the Philippine peso.
Sending Indian rupees?
Indian rupees are not only one of the most popular currencies for inward remittances, but they're also sent abroad from India at staggering amounts. Compare the services that offer the best exchange rates for the US dollar, Canadian dollar, Nepali rupee, Philippine peso, Euro, Pakistani rupee, or the Bangladeshi taka.
Sending Canadian dollars?
The Canadian dollar is the sixth most traded currency in the world economy. Compare the cheapest services that offer exchange rates between the Canadian dollar and the US dollar, as well as other popular currencies such as the Indian rupee, Euro, Philippine peso, Pakistani rupee, Mexican peso, and the British pound.
Sending Australian dollars?
The Aussie dollar is the fifth most traded currency in world and an important currency not only in Australia, but also across many Pacific Islands. Compare the cheapest services that offer exchange rates between the Australian dollar and the US dollar, Indian rupee, Nepali rupee, Philippine peso, Canadian dollar, Nigerian naira, and the Pakistani rupee.
Sending Swiss francs?
Traditionally a "safe-haven" currency due to its perceived stability, the Swiss franc punches above its weight in the world economy. Compare the services that offer the best exchange rates for the Euro, US dollar, Brazilian real, Thai baht, Indian rupee, Colombian peso, and the British pound.
Compare Exchange Rates at Banks
Traditional banks across the globe offer some of the poorest exchange rates on the market, charging a mix of fixed fees, commission fees, and exchange rate margins that can sometimes amount to costs of more than 10% of your entire transfer amount!
To find out how to save on these often-exorbitant costs, take a look at our international money transfer guides for several key major banks across the globe:
Find the Best Exchange Rates for Travel Cards
Are you planning your next trip abroad? Whether it's cash in your wallet or money on a card, you'll need foreign currency to do your spending in order to avoid paying exorbitant dynamic currency conversion (DCC) fees on every transaction paid in your home currency.
FAQ About Exchange Rates
Which bank has the best exchange rate? 🏛
While some banks offer better exchange rates than others, the best exchange rates of all are typically offered by neobanks rather than by traditional banks. The top competitors in this fast-growing financial sector are TransferWise Borderless, Bunq, N26, Revolut, Monese, and (in the UK) Monzo — all of which offer very good exchange rates.
How do I find the best exchange rate? 💱
Finding the best exchange rate often means you need to find alternatives to your traditional bank, exchange bureau, or cash-based money transfer service. Here are our two top tips for getting the job done:
What's the right time to exchange currencies? 💹
Exchange rates between currencies fluctuate all the time, leaving it nearly impossible to know in which direction they will go. Subscribe to Monito's email alert to be notified of relevant changes in an exchange rate of your choice.
What's the difference between the buy and sell rate? 📊
Like anything of value, currencies are sold and bought. Let's assume you want to swap US dollars for Euros. Your bank will then sell you Euros in exchange of your US Dollars, with exchange rate for your transaction being the "Sell" exchange rate of Euros in exchange for those dollars.
Where is best exchange rate for Euros? 💶
It's busy changing right now. Run a search on our comparison engine to find out in real-time!
Why is there a difference between the buy and sell rate? 📈
What is best exchange rate for US dollars 💵
The best exchange rates involving the US dollar are constantly on the move. Run a search on our comparison engine to discover them in real-time!
What if I can't find my bank's exchange rate online? ❓
Sadly, it's often the case that you'll have hard time finding this information. Banks are notoriously non-transparent about their exchange rates, so are some money transfer services and card issuers. Even if the information is provided, you might be confronted to some financial jargon that is hard to understand. You can always try to call your bank to ask what's their current exchange rate.
What's the difference between bank note exchange rate and transfer rate? 🧾
Banks usually don't offer the same exchange rates if you need to exchange cash (coins & bank notes) or if you need to exchange currencies in the context of an electronic bank transfer, or a payment in foreign currency with your debit/credit card. The exchanges rates for cash transactions are usually easier to find, and less favorable, because of the cost associated with managing cash in multiple currencies.
What is a mid-market exchange rate and how do I get it? 📉
The mid-market exchange rate, or inter-bank rate, is the exchange rate between two currencies of reference. This is the rate you'll see on Google or XE.com and it's used by banks when they exchange currencies with one another.
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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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