Best places to exchange currency in Berlin

TransferWise content team
27.03.17
4 minute read

Berlin is a wonderfully creative and expressive city. Germany’s capital caters to a varied range of interests, from art and history to culture and nightlife. There’s sure to be something to keep everyone entertained. To fund your trip to Berlin, you’ll be needing some of the local currency in your pocket. Here’s our guide to the best places to exchange EUR for your time in this diverse city.

Things to know before exchanging your money

Know the actual exchange rate

It pays to do your homework before you travel, to refine your understanding of exchange rates. The important rate to grasp is the mid-market exchange rate. This is the real rate which you’ll find on google or Xe.com. Unfortunately, you’ll not be offered this rate at an exchange bureau. They advertise their own exchange rates which are lower than mid-market. You can check the offered tourist rates against the mid-market rate using an online currency converter. This’ll help you calculate the hidden fees, which you can combine with any upfront fees to calculate the true cost of your exchange.

Remember - exchange rates always change

Exchange rates can fluctuate constantly, with popular currency routes usually changing more frequently. Rates can be affected by economic or political decisions as well as other external factors. Be aware of any global or local events occurring while you’re in Berlin which may have an influence on the currency market. With this knowledge, you may be able to choose a favourable time to exchange your money.

Research your home bank’s partnerships before you leave

Find out if your bank has an international partner operating in Berlin. If they do, you may be able to withdraw money the partner bank’s ATM for free or at a discounted fee. Check this with your home bank before you leave and be sure to advise them you’ll be traveling and using your card overseas. An ATM is a convenient way of accessing your money while in Berlin. You’ll usually get a fairer rate than is offered at an exchange bureau, but bear in mind you’ll still be charged a fee for each withdrawal. So plan ahead and make one or two larger transactions instead of many smaller ones.

Always choose to be charged in the local currency

When withdrawing cash from an ATM, always choose to be charged in the local currency. Selecting the alternate option (being charged in your home currency), means you are allowing the ATM to apply its own exchange rate to the conversion. This rate is usually not in your favour and you’ll likely also be charged an extra fee for this service. Opt instead to be charged in EUR, without any conversion by the ATM, to ensure you save on fees.

Avoid airport and hotel currency exchanges

Avoid exchanging money in airports and hotels. They are servicing a captive market, and their high fees and poor exchange rates reflect this. If in need of immediate cash, change what you require to get by until you have access to more centrally located tourist bureaus. The competition in these areas will usually drive a fairer deal. Alternatively, withdraw EUR directly from an ATM run by a trusted operator.

Spend your money before leaving

Budget well for your trip so you can calculate how much money you’ll need to convert. If you have leftover Euros and change it back to your home currency, you’ll be paying conversion charges twice. Spend the cash instead, especially the coins, or keep the money for your next trip into Europe.

Where to exchange money in Berlin

Every currency exchange place will charge a fee either upfront or hidden in their exchange rate. Check the live mid-market rate and compare this to tourist rates on offer to determine the fairest deal. Below are some in-person exchanges in Berlin that you could utilise.

Currency Bureau Address Contact Information
Ria Money Transfer Friedrichstraße 200, 10117 Berlin +49 30 200767674
Ria Money Transfer Karl-Marx-Straße 87, 10785 Berlin +49 30 68085585
Euro Change Hubertusstraße 14, 12163 Berlin +49 30 7928020
Exchange AG Bayreuther Str. 37, 10787 Berlin +49 30 21476292

The bottom line

If you plan to convert cash at an exchange bureau in Berlin, be sure to check the tourist rate against the real mid-market rate. Add the hidden fees to any upfront charges advertised to determine the fairest deal. An easier option is to withdraw euros directly from an ATM. Choose to be charged in the local currency and this’ll ensure a more favourable rate is applied to your conversion.

Better yet, if either you or a friend have access to a EUR bank account in Berlin, 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 Germany, all those nasty international bank fees magically disappear.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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