Currency Exchange FAQs
Your holiday is booked and you're counting down the days until you jet off. There's just one thing left to sort – your travel money. Here, we've answered the most common questions surrounding currency exchange.
Where to exchange currency?
You can exchange currency in thousands of places across the UK, including at banks, Post Offices, travel agents, dedicated currency exchange stores and in high street stores that have a travel money (or bureau de change) counter.
How to exchange currency?
If you're getting your currency from a dedicated currency exchange, high street store, travel agency or the Post Office, you can just walk in and exchange your desired number of pounds (up to a certain amount, which varies from retailer to retailer). Most will only offer walk-in exchange on common currencies, like euros and US dollars. If you're heading somewhere with a less common currency or ordering more than £1,000, it's best to do it online or check with your branch first.
Do you need ID to exchange currency?
Lots of retailers will ask for one of the following forms of ID when you're exchanging currency:
- Valid passport.
- Valid UK or EEA photocard driving licence.
- EEA identity card or valid identity card from your country.
Not all travel money providers will ask for ID but take it along just in case. Some travel money providers, including the Post Office, only provide currency exchange to permanent UK residents. If you're exchanging money in the UK but don't live here, it's worth heading to a dedicated currency exchange store.
How old do you have to be to exchange currency?
There isn't a legal age restriction for exchanging currency in the UK, so in theory anyone can do so. However, each retailer may enforce their own policy. If you're under 16, check your chosen retailer's policy online before visiting a store or visit with a family member or older friend just in case. Alternatively, order your currency online.
How does currency exchange work?
Currency exchange is pretty complex but it uses something called the 'Forex' trading market. Essentially, it's a stock market for currencies.
Your provider will set their rate to reflect the current Forex rate for each currency, which varies from day to day, taking out a percentage for commission – ensuring they make money from providing the service. This is why most providers offer better rates for high value purchases, as they make more money and so can reduce the commission rate slightly.