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Tips & Comments on Currency Exchange

Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:23 pm
by Benji Sun
Updated: Feb 22 2017

Since there are only 8 of us in the administrative team and we only cover a few countries, more often than not we have only general advice on how to exchange currency, so we depend a lot on the generous help of our fellow members on this common issue. Here are some country specific tips on ways to exchange currency, but it's also up to yourself to do some research on what works best for you (here's the current Narita Airport's exchange rate).

Member May Yin also wrote a detailed guide on currency exchange you can click here to download the doc or find it in our Files section if the link isn't working.

(starting with Japan, then Listed Alphabetically)


Jan 2 2017 from Vinayak Garg: I got money exchanged recently. Go to Central Post Office, and they exchange it with the best possible rate. (I had got exchanged at the Kyoto, at the Central Post Office at the main Rail station, I am sure it would be similar for Tokyo as well)
There are also some automated machines for exchanging dollars to Yen around touristy places, but the exchange rate offered by those machines is not good.

Jan 2 2017 from Christopher Chick: Spent 3 years in Tokyo. Always just used the ATM.

Jan 2 2017 from John Becker: The current rate is 117 yen to the US Dollar, but you'll get a rate more like 110 to the dollar at a bank.
I would recommend doing what Juliet says. Go to a 7-11 ATM. (Also look for "7 & I Holdings," which is the same thing as 7-11.)


Feb 4 2017 from Sarah Jarvis: I am in Australia and I always order through American Express Currency Exchange Ph: 1300 139 060 and organise for the currency to be delivered to my local post office. You can order through Aust Post online, but their rate is a little bit dearer. When in Japan we always withdraw from the ATM at the post office. We used to be able to withdraw 100,000 yen every time but they have reduced the maximum withdrawal to 50,000 yen. My bank charges me $5 for every withdrawal. We always carry quite a bit of cash on us in Japan. Japan is a very safe country, we have never had an issue and have been to Japan many times.

Oct 8 2016 from Venita Grant: We went recently; I exchanged at my local commonwealth bank in Australia - although all the sites said the exchange rate was around 78-78 C/Bank only gave me 72 plus $8 processing..... I'd shop around but definitely get a lot before you go. Commonwealth charged me $25 to withdraw funds at an ATM in Tokyo

Costa Rica

Jan 3 2017 from Cynthia Brenes: Hi everyone, thanks for your info. We have heard about the ATM the thing is our bank charges 5% fee plus a 1% foreign exchange fee of the total amount. So I don't think at the end it is a good deal.


Nov 12 2016 Janina Zielecka Sejer: If it's like in Denmark, you will get a better exchange rate at home.


Apr 17 2016 from Dzulhaidy Abdul Rahim: CIMB charge RM 10.60 ( 2.71 usd) maybank RM 12.72 (3.26 usd) and the rate RM 3.54 (0.90 usd) for 100 yen.. while moneychanger are selling the yen at RM 3.62/100¥ (0.92 usd).. i think withdrawing yen beats exchanging it imho.

Mar 24 2016 from Josephine Chee: for Citibank in Malaysia, when overseas, I used my ATM card to withdraw the local currency from my bank account and the charge is just a small MYR$10 (USD 2.50) per withdrawal. If i can find a Citibank ATM, then it's free..


Jul 22 2015 from オグス アイコ: Chnge peso to usd in philippines then usd to yen in japan


Mar 24 2016 from Elektra Chan Guo Baobei: I withdraw cash from post office atm. Singapore uob charge $5 sgd for every withdrawal. Thats all

United Kingdom

Jan 21 2017 from Zak Farah: I always use best foreign exchange online website then collect the money at one of their branches in London.

Jan 21 2017 from Andrew Booth: I always use AceFx in London. Very efficient and good rates.

Feb 2 2015 Sam Trahar: I don't know about the US, but in the UK, you can get better rates ordering online in advance with various companies then you can get at the banks. You have to be careful and make sure they are insured though. There's a comparison website here, which is what we used.

United States

Feb 11 2017 from Vicki Coles From USA - I obtain yen via ATM, usually at the airport upon arrival. I never change back to US$ because I know I will be back. I also have many former co-workers to whom I can sell my yen if I ever stop traveling. (I'm retired airline crew.)

Jan 21 2017 from Eli Simpson: Best bet is to find a bank that allows foreign ATM withdrawals with no fee. These are few and far between, but if you can find one it's easily the most convenient and cost-effective way. I use Charles Schwab Bank for this purpose. Any time I need cash in Japan I head to a 7-11 and get yen with no ATM fee and no FX fee.

Nov 15 2016 from Tiffany Huelar: Whatever you do, DO NOT EXCHANGE YEN AT THE AIRPORT IN THE US. Total robbery lol. (But again, convenience = price).

Nov 12 2016 from Arch Stanton: I just got back from Japan three weeks ago and had the same questions. What we did that worked perfectly, and what others are saying is correct, is get yen here...I'm assuming you are in the US. If you have TD Bank where you live, order yen from them. They will get as much yen as you want for a 7.00 flat fee. I took 3000 yen to Japan. Once there and you need more money, ATMs in 7-11's are the best thing going. They are everywhere.

May 14 2016 from May Yin: From online sources, these are the rates I found for USD to Yen at about 9.30am Sydney time:

Wells Fargo: 102.88
Bank of America: 115.075

In Japan:
Narita airport, MUFG, Mizuho Bank: 105.94

Visa exchange rates: 108.506 <-- Japan ATM withdrawal rate

As I am not privy to fees and commissions charged, I am going to hold all things equal and assume zero fees and commission charged and go by rates alone. That means that BOA offers the highest rate as of my search just now. However, if BOA charges fees and commissions, that has to be taken into account which would increase the cost of the currency. Other than that, using a Citibank Visa debit card to withdraw from 7/11 ATMs in Japan (which is fee free) is the other choice.
You also need to consider fluctuations of the currency. If the currency was to drop, then might as well change now to lock in a good rate. If the currency is to remain stable or to go up, you can consider getting a fee free debit card and withdraw in Japan itself.