Outside of Europe where the Euro is used across more than 20 countries, knowing the local currency in each different country you plan on travelling to is an important part of any trip abroad. A different currency can sometimes not feel like real money, while being in the dark about conversion rates can mean that your carefully planned budget can go out the window before you even know it. The updated version of the guidebook you just bought may contain the exchange rate at the time of publication a few months previous, however with such a volatile market, it’s probably already out of date. That, therefore, is why our list featuring the top currency converters is a vital resource for travellers either planning, or already on, a trip away.
Although short, within the list you will find the top three online resources for converting currency, whether it’s to pound sterling, Japanese yen, Swiss franc, Indian rupee or Chilean peso. Each platform was reviewed be considering a range of different factors, assessing unique features, functionality, and number of currencies offered, among others, in order to narrow down the list to only the best resources available. With this list, you will never get stuck trying to work out if you’re being ripped off again, nor will you find yourself travelling to the other side of the world, only to realise that the exchange rate in relation to that of your home country’s currency is at its all time worst. Read detailed information, view charts and get the true market exchange rate to the very minute by referring to our list of the top three currency converters. The pros and cons of the websites are set out in an easy-to-read set of bullet points below each review.
One of the first and most significant factors that was considered when reviewing each website was its overall functionality and user-friendliness. Regardless of the number of currencies offered, if a website does not work well then it is of little use to travellers, who more often than not need to quickly find out information whilst on the move. For example, while XE offered the largest variety of global currencies, the website is inundated with adverts promoting its money transfer feature, causing a constant distraction and sense of being overcrowded. Adverts, in particular pop-ups, can be very irritating for users who are trying to carry out the simple task of finding out exchange rates, while they can also cause the page to load much slower than ones without them, hence affecting the general functionality of the service. Coinmill, on the other hand, did not have adverts that XE has, however the website itself is old-fashioned and in serious need of a update to improve its aesthetic. Additionally, how quickly each platform displayed the currency conversion after typing in a figure was also factored in. Some were automatic, meaning the conversion was shown instantly after entering the information, while others you are made to click a button and wait for the page to reload. Although they seem like obvious points, these were very important factors to consider when reviewing the various websites, and ultimately influenced how they were ranked.
Another feature that was taken into account was whether the platform offered a smartphone application and, if so, how well it functioned. For travellers, the availability of a mobile app is an essential aspect of any digital service as they are more often than not on the go, without free access to a desktop or laptop. However, one thing even the most budget-conscious explorers will always carry around with them is their smartphone, often containing everything from flight and hotel bookings to maps and city guides. Hence, being able to download an app especially dedicated to converting currency and finding out the latest market exchange rate is a useful thing to have on you. No matter how remote you go, there is sure to always be a cafe offering free Wi-Fi where you can quickly access the app, without the need to constantly lug around a laptop with you. A bonus to this is that the one offered by XE is free to download and access all its functionalities, although you must endure the advert banners as a consequence of this.
When travelling, often there will appear times when you must transfer money from one currency to another. Using websites like PayPal can incur large costs, particularly if sending significant sums, while taking money out in a different currency can be expensive due to the fees charged by the ATM. For that reason, we also looked at the ability to send money abroad or into a foreign account, something that is included in XE’s platform, known simply as XE Money Transfer. Users can find great exchange rates – which can be compared on the very same website – while not charging any fees. If you are travelling abroad and must pay back your new Japanese friend for a meal, then this could be a great alternative to taking money out or using a bank transfer. That being said, there are a number of other websites – such as CurrencyFair and TransferWise – that are more established offering a similar service, and may, therefore, be preferred to what is principally a currency converter.
Being able to see how an exchange rate has changed over time, as well as a bit of background information on the currency itself were other features that were considered when reviewing the three platforms. Although it may seem irrelevant to know past rates, it can be important to see trends in order to make an informed decision on whether to travel to a region or not. If, for example, you were planning a trip to a country that a few years ago had a great exchange rate with your local currency but that is now almost at parity, goods and services there will offer far less value for money, even if their actual price has not changed. A bit of background on the currency can be essential too if you are to get by in a foreign country. Knowing the various nicknames used by locals (‘quid’ is one you will hear a lot in reference to British pounds), as well as the range of countries that use the currency, what it is tied to and which body influences its rate are useful pieces of info to be aware of, particularly if planning to stay in the country for a significant period of time. For that reason, we looked at how detailed the information on various currencies was, while also considering whether they offered graphs and charts mapping the changing exchange rates between two currencies over time.
Overall, our list of the best currency converters offers the very best places on the internet to go to discover the latest exchange rates, find out information on currencies and even exchange money between countries. Knowing the most up to date details on a currency and how it compares to your local currency are essential aspects when travelling, helping not only to influence decisions whilst on the go – including where to eat, sleep and visit – but also whether you should even decide to travel to a place at all. As mentioned, although guidebooks can give a rough idea of the current rate, with such a fast-paced world, they are constantly rising and falling, therefore having a resource that keeps you updated to the hour has become a vital tool for travellers. Whether viewing them on a desktop, laptop or mobile application for smartphones, with this helpful list you will never again be struggling to work out what the exchange rates is.