24 September 2019

Foreign Currency Exchange: How To Achieve a Better Rate For Your Business Trip

You’ve booked the business flight tickets, arranged the accommodation and ordered the airport transfers. But hold on, have you remembered to exchange your money into foreign currency?

Exchanging travel money, whether online or in person, can be a minefield. With the uncertainty of Brexit, you’re left with fluctuating interbank exchange rates that could leave you out of pocket if booked too early or left too late.

But fear not; there are plenty of foreign currency exchange methods available that offer you the best exchange rates and the ability to control your funds from the moment you or your boss steps off the plane.

To save yourself some time and the business some money (or exchange for a higher currency), read on and discover our travel money tips.

Profitable ways to exchange your money into foreign currency  

Exchange using travel cards

There are plenty of travel cards around that are designed to offer the best rates and ease of exchanging. In most cases, you can open an account in minutes, wherever you are in the world. All you’ll need are your bank card and the online app. It’s worth noting that whoever is travelling will need to download the specific app too, but by creating a communal work login, anyone from your business can join and you can start exchanging with the power to control your exchange rate at your fingertips.

Revolut is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to exchange foreign currency through digital banking. Once an account is set up, simply transfer some money from an existing business bank account into your Revolut account and you’ll be instantly able to exchange your money to over 150 different currencies with a live interbank exchange rate - the best exchange rate you can get!

Best of all, if you do have leftover foreign currency, Revolut allows you to store it in your account for the next visit/user. Any money your colleagues spend will instantly show up on the app too, making monitoring their expenses much easier - especially if you know they’re someone who’s likely to forget to bring back receipts...

Processing more than 7.3 million transactions a year (that’s more than €1 for every man, woman and child on this planet), Caxton is another digital banking account you might like to try. Simply transfer the money from your business bank account into a foreign currency at Caxton’s competitive rates, then let your colleagues know that they’re all set to draw out the funds as necessary using their physical Caxton card.

Despite the transfer being slightly lower than the interbank exchange rate Revolut offers, there are no limits on spending or withdrawals, which is a bonus. While you can only load up to 14 different currencies, Caxton cards are great if whoever’s travelling prefers to withdraw cash during a business trip. The big spenders on your team can even top up along the way...

WeSwap, Post Office, FairFX (Euro only), and easyFX also offer travel cards providing better rates than bureau de change kiosks. Many offer new starter cashback, too. Whichever one you choose, if any, you’ll be on your way to saving your business money and making life for the traveller a lot simpler.

Read more about using virtual payment technology for your travel expenses, too.

Don’t overlook online comparison sites

Hands up if exchanging travel money is one of the last things you remember to do before flying? Before I knew better, I’d often find myself rushing to my local bureau de change kiosk without really noticing the exchange rates offered. It may be a little more time consuming, but when you’re working to a budget or you’re looking to impress your boss, it’s worth spending five extra minutes using online comparison sites to shop around for the most competitive exchange rates - you could gain a fair bit of extra value from it.

Online comparison sites like GoCompare, MoneySupermarket, and compareholidaymoney.com allow you to select your desired spend amount and preference of transfer, and then compare with top high street and online bureau de change suppliers. They even include the smaller, sometimes hidden fee charges like delivery, and you can also read the reviews other customers have left to see if they’re trustworthy. 

You’ve impressed your colleagues by achieving a better foreign currency exchange rate - great! See how you can save more money when booking business travel.

Purchase your currency online rather than in store

Most of the time, foreign currency exchange suppliers offer better rates online than they do in store, so if there’s a particular supplier you wish to use it’s best you purchase your travel money online. All suppliers offer an online calculator that instantly generates how much you’ll receive in exchange, giving you the time to adjust your budget where necessary.

You can even choose if you want the cash to be delivered to your business, saving time in the long run, or if you want to pick it up in person. It’s also worth noting that the more money you spend, the better the exchange rate, and most of the time delivery is free over a certain amount. 

Store loyalty members get a better exchange rate

Some suppliers offer a slightly higher exchange rate if you’re a personal member of their store. For example, Sainsbury’s Nectar card holders will get a better exchange rate than non-members, as well as extra Nectar card points on top of that.

Similar perks are also offered for Debenhams and M&S cardholders, so it’s worth looking out for or asking around the business.

‘Lock in your rate’ with foreign currency cards

Foreign currency cards allow you to load multiple currencies onto a physical card at the most up-to-date exchange rates, which can then be accessed at millions of cash machines worldwide. You can also use the cards to pay for goods and services online and in store. 

CashPassport, run by Mastercard, is a great example. Lock in the exchange rate on the day you buy, top up your cash passport as required, and easily move money between the ten different currencies available - ideal for extended business trips covering multiple regions.

Halifax also offers a travel credit card that won’t charge you to withdraw cash overseas or at home. You also pay one simple rate for the things you buy, wherever you are in the world, making this a universal travel credit card that you can use for every business trip.

Achieve a better exchange rate and save your business money

Whether your business trip is in Europe, across the pond in the US, or somewhere in Asia, achieving the best rate when exchanging currency is always going to be a gamble with a fluctuating market. But as technology advances, digital banking and live, online currency conversion is counteracting traditional foreign currency exchange methods.

Providing the best exchange rates, the ability to store foreign currency over long periods of time, and the option to withdraw and top up your travel money whenever and wherever you are, you’re able to manage your expenditure and save the business money, all from the touch of your keypad.

With travel money sorted are you forgetting anything else? Make sure you’ve got everything you need before your business trip by downloading our booking checklist now.

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