So you’re headed to The Lone Star State. Dallas is the second-largest city in Texas, and trade is at the core of its economy. Before you can buy your first real cowboy hat, you may be looking for a currency exchange bureau. But be careful - not all exchange options were created equal. While some exchange bureaus are relatively fair, some will rip you off. Our guide will help you to find the best places to convert your money whilst in Dallas.
Things to know before exchanging your money
Before rushing to change your foreign money into USD at the nearest in-person bureau, first take some time to learn about currency exchange. Here are some facts and tips that you should be aware of.
Know the actual exchange rate
You’ll see varying exchange rates offered in different exchange bureaus. Bear in mind, that these are rates decided on by the exchange service themselves, and are often less favourable as the rate is absorbing their commission. The mid-market rate, on the other hand, is the real rate decided by currency traders and governments. Also called the interbank exchange rate, you’ll find this figure on google, as well as in our online currency converter.
The mid-market rate can be used as a base rate to compare other offered exchange rates to. Steer clear of any tourist rates deviating too far from mid-market, and also take into account any extra upfront fees charged by the exchange service.
Remember - exchange rates always change
Exchange rates will fluctuate - some currencies more than others. This is because exchange rates are subject to speculation, inflation, interest rates, government debt, current events, and international political relations among other factors. As such, the value of your money could be significantly altered by a new trade agreement, or a political event. Keep updated on news and market events to understand whether you should withdraw money at a certain time on your trip.
Research your home bank’s partnerships before you leave
Enquire at your home bank before you leave, whether they have partnerships with any banks operating in Dallas. If they do, you may be able to withdraw USD from their ATMs for free, or at least waive some of the charges. ATMs are generally easier to find than exchange bureaus, so it’s worth finding out which ones are suitable based on your home bank.
Always choose to be charged in the local currency
When using an ATM, you’ll want to select “charge in local currency” on the ATM screen, as opposed to being charged in your home currency. The latter means the ATM will do the conversion for you, resulting in an extra charge or a poorer conversion rate. Instead, choose to be charged in USD for a better deal.
Avoid airport and hotel currency exchanges
It can be tempting to exchange currency at the airport or your hotel when you’ve reached your destination. But don’t let the convenience fool you. While these exchange vendors are well-situated, their exchange rates are usually less favourable and their fees higher. Airports have been known to charge fees as high as 20 percent of your total withdrawal.
Exchange only what you need to get by until you find a more centrally located exchange bureau, or use an ATM run by a trusted operator.
Spend your money before leaving
You should plan to use up all the money you’ve exchanged before you leave. It costs money to re-exchange back to your home currency. Plus, you’ve already paid fees to exchange it the first time. At least you have a good excuse to splurge one last time, before heading home.
Where to exchange money in Dallas
Despite hidden fees and higher exchange rates, you may still want to find a physical location exchange bureau. Here are some in-person options for exchanging your money in Dallas.
|Currency Bureau||Address||Contact Information|
|Travelex - North Park Center||8687 N. Central Expressway #2328, Dallas, TX 75225||(214) 360-4765|
|Travelex - Dallas Fort-Worth Airport||2400 Aviation Dr, DFW Airport, TX 75261, USA, Gates D12, D22, D23, D24, and D36||(972) 973-4537|
|Travelex - Village on the Parkway|
|5100 Belt Line Rd, Dallas, TX 75254||(972) 991-0191|
|Dolex Dollar Express||300 E Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75203||(214) 948-2003|
The bottom line
Before your trip to Dallas, spend some time understanding the real exchange rate. Should you choose to exchange your money at a bureau, use this rate as a benchmark to compare how fair the tourist rates on offer are.
A convenient method of accessing your money in USD is by withdrawing it from an ATM. Avoid letting the ATM to do the conversion for you - opt to be charged in USD instead. Choose ATMs run by trusted operators, and even better, those running in partnership with your home bank.
Better yet, if either you or a friend has access to a USD account in Dallas, 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), your money will be sent and received using local banks, bypassing those nasty international banking fees.