As the capital city of Europe, it should come as no surprise that the majority of visitors to Brussels are there for business. But it certainly isn’t a city of all work and no play - Brussels boasts beautiful architecture, inviting bars, and world famous chocolate and beer. But whether you're in the city for business or pleasure, you’ll be needing some euros to get by. This guide will help you to find the best places to exchange currency in Brussels.
Understanding how exchange rates work will greatly help when converting your money. The important rate to know is the mid-market exchange rate. This is also called the interbank rate, and you’ll find it on google or Xe.com. The rates advertised in exchange bureaus will be lower than mid-market, as they hide extra commission in their rate. They may also charge extra fee upfront. Use the mid-market rate as a benchmark to compare how fair an offered tourist rate is. You can check this using our handy online currency converter.
Exchange rates can shift regularly. Rates can be affected by economic or political decisions as well as other external factors. By keeping up-to-date with global or local events while you’re in Brussels, you may be able to track the best time to convert your money. You can sign up for our Rate Tracker - in this tool you can choose to be kept updated daily or receive an alert when your currency pairing reaches a desired value.
A global market, just like the EU itself, means collaboration between countries and economies. Which means many banks now have international partners to allow trading to happen easily between them. If your bank has an international partner then you should be able to withdraw money using their ATM machines for a much reduced charge, or even no charge. So be sure to find out which banks are in partnership with your home bank, if any, before you leave.
Always choose to be charged in the local currency
If using an ATM, be sure that you choose to be charged in the local currency. Opting to be charged in your home currency means the ATM will convert your money at its own rate. This’ll usually be a poorer exchange rate and the ATM will charge an extra fee for the service. Opt instead to be charged in EUR, without any conversion by the ATM, to ensure you save on fees. To avoid paying a charge multiple times, try and withdraw as much cash as you need in one go, instead of several smaller withdrawals.
From chocolate to beer to currency exchange, most things cost more at the airport. And hotel exchange kiosks are much the same. Both cater to a captive audience so their exchange rates can vary widely and their commission costs can be very high. Avoid changing money here unless you’re in desperate need. Change just what you require and then convert the rest in the city centre, or withdraw cash from an ATM.
Budget well for your trip to avoid coming home with leftover cash in your pocket. It costs to re-exchange currency so withdraw what you need and spend it all. It’s particularly important to spend your coins, as these won’t be accepted at exchange offices.
All currency exchanges charge, even the ones that advertise ‘no commission’. If the fee isn't quoted upfront it will be hidden in the exchange rate. So check the rate offered against the live mid-market rate to determine the fairest place to convert your money.
|Currency Bureau||Address||Contact Information|
|DME Change||Boulevard Adolphe Max 11, 000 Bruxelles||+32 2 218 22 94|
|Ria||Rue du Marché aux Poulets 48, 1000 Bruxelles||+32 2 808 65 73|
|Eurogold||Rue de la Bourse 30, 1000 Bruxelles||+32 2 513 74 10|
|GFI Gold and Forex International||Rue du Midi 101, 1000 Bruxelles||+32 2 513 92 40|
If you plan to convert cash at an exchange bureau in Brussels, be sure to check the tourist rate against the real mid-market rate. Taking into consideration any upfront fees, you’ll be able to calculate the fairest service to convert your money. Alternatively, you can withdraw cash directly from a trusted ATM operator. Usually the rate offered by an ATM will be better than an in-person exchange office, but choose to be charged in euros to avoid any extra conversion fees.
Better yet, if either you or a friend have access to a EUR bank account in Brussels, use TransferWise and make the transfer ahead of time. Not only does TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate to convert your money (which almost always beat the banks), but since your currency is received and sent via local banking systems in both your home country and in Belgium, all those nasty international bank fees magically disappear.
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