Best places to exchange currency in Glasgow

13.01.17
4 minute read
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Glasgow is not only home to the longest bar in Europe (over thirty meters long), but also Europe’s largest public reference library. If you fancy making your way through the million items of stock at the Mitchell Library, then you might want to do it before your visit to the Horseshoe Bar.

If Glasgow’s prime drinking spot and record-breaking reading material aren’t your thing, then perhaps you’ll enjoy its Victorian and Art Nouveau architecture, lush parks or thumping music scene.

Whatever’s bringing you to Glasgow, you're going to need to some cash. Getting the best currency exchange rates in a new city can be tricky. Try this guide to find the best places to exchange your cash in Glasgow.

Things to know before exchanging currency

Regardless of the currency you're looking to change to Sterling, you’ll need to know the mid-market rate. This is easily done with a handy online currency converter.

  1. Research the mid-market rate.
    The mid-market rate is the exchange rate banks use when they trade currencies between themselves. It constantly fluctuates due to a variety of factors, but it’s the best benchmark when determining whether a tourist rate is fair or not. Just compare the rate you’re offered with the mid-market rate - taking into account any extra fees or commission - and pick the best deal.
  2. Avoid exchanges in airports and hotels.
    In your search for a good rate, you can get a head start by avoiding currency exchange services in and around airports and hotels. They're rarely a good deal as they normally offer poorer rates in exchange for the convenience. For a better alternative, use an ATM to withdraw Sterling directly.
  3. Check if your local bank has a partner in Glasgow.
    If your bank does have an agreement with a bank in Glasgow, then you might be able to use their ATMs with reduced fees for an even better overall rate. Whilst checking this with your bank, also let them know you’ll be overseas so your card won’t be suspended for suspicious activity.
  4. Avoid letting ATMs charge in your home currency.
    At the ATM you might be asked if you want to have the transaction charged in your home currency or the local currency. Choosing the home currency will mean the ATM applied its own rate to the conversion (which is usually poorer) and may add an additional fee for this. Ask to be charged in the local currency instead in order to get a better rate.

Finally, avoid getting stuck with unwanted extra cash at the end of your trip. Changing cash back again will mean you’re hit for conversion charges twice. Change only what you need and spend what you have. Buy yourself some shortbread, or a bottle of Irn Bru, as a souvenir, and go home with an empty wallet.

Where to exchange money

Changing money at an exchange office comes with the risk of hidden fees and charges. Even if a headline shouts ‘0% Commission’, you can be sure a cut is still taken through a less favourable exchange rate. Usually an ATM is a better option to make sure you're not ripped off while you travel.

Travelex has a branch in Glasgow Airport that opens from 4am until at least 9pm every day. Changing money at an airport will often attract unwanted fees and charges, whether they're declared or wrapped into a poor rate. However, if you need a quick change upon arrival (and especially if you're turning up to Glasgow in the earlu hours), they're an option. Change what you need for immediate use and head into town to convert the rest at a better rate.

International Currency Exchange (ICE)

Locations

They have a ‘Click and Collect’ service here. Order currency online and then call in to pick it up. There are limits to the amount of currency you can change and proof of ID is required for collection, so check the details in advance.

Location Phone Number
66 Gordon Street, Glasgow G1 3RS(Located opposite Glasgow Station) 0203 437 0744

Opening Hours

Mon-Sat 8:00-19:00, Sundays 10:00-18:00.

No.1 Currency

Location Phone Number
55 St. Enoch Square, Glasgow G1 4BW(St. Enoch Shopping Centre) 0141 248 4608

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 9:00-19:00, Sat 9:00-18:00, Sun 10:00-18:00.

Ramsdens

Locations

Locations Phone Number
216 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8HA 0141 2211037
235 Springburn Way, Glasgow G21 1DX 0141 558 8277
491 Victoria Road, Glasgow G42 8RL 0141 423 0379
Unit 17b The Forge Shopping Centre, Glasgow G31 4EB 0141 5502397

Opening Hours

  • Argyle Street - M-F 9-17.30, Sat 9-17, Sun 11-16
  • Springburn - M-F 9:30-16:30, Sat 9:30-16, Sun closed
  • Victoria Road - M-F 9-17, Sat 9-16
  • The Forge - M-Sat 9-17:30, Sun 11-16:00

Alternatively - for an even better deal - use Transferwise. If you have a Sterling bank account, or know someone who does, you can transfer money between accounts using the real mid-market exchange rate. No hidden fees and you can withdraw the money directly from the local bank account - so you can get on with enjoying your visit to Glasgow.

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

Find out more