Best places to exchange currency in Houston

03.04.17
4 minute read
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With over 90 languages spoken across the city, Houston has been described as one of the most diverse cities in the USA. Global nomads and tourists alike can expect a warm welcome in ‘The Big Heart’, as Houston is friendly and hip. For fun, you could visit Houston’s famous seven-mile indoor shopping tunnel, watch a game at the Astrodome or tour the NASA facilities.

If you want to make the most of Houston’s vibrant cultural scene, be sure to spend your money on museums, restaurants and concert tickets instead of on ATM, money exchange and foreign credit card fees. Before you go, read our guide to the best places to exchange money in Houston.

Things to know before exchanging your money

Know the actual exchange rate

Take the time to understand how exchange rates work. An exchange rate is the price of one currency in terms of another. You’ll notice a variation in the exchange rates offered in money exchange branches. The reason for this, is that they’re not actually offering the real rate. The interbank or mid-market exchange rate is the real rate. You can check the real rate from an online currency converter. The difference in rates will highlight extra fees hidden in an exchange rate. Be sure to add in any upfront fees charged to determine the true cost of a conversion.

Remember - exchange rates always change  

The factors influencing exchange rates are often in flux. Some factors affecting exchange rates include public debt, interest rates, inflation and political decisions. Utilise our rate tracker tool to receive live exchange rate notifications.

Research your home bank’s partnerships before you leave

It’s a good idea to check whether your home bank has any partnerships with banks in Houston. If they do, you should be able to withdraw cash from a partner’s ATM for a reduced or waived fee. An ATM is a good way to access your money while traveling. Be sure to pre-warn your bank that you’ll be using your card overseas to avoid having your card suspended for suspicious activity.

Always choose to be charged in the local currency

When using an ATM to withdraw cash, choose to be charged in the local currency. If you opt to be charged in your home currency, you’re allowing the ATM’s bank to apply its own exchange rate. This rate will usually be less favourable and an extra fee will be charged for the service. To ensure you pay less in fees, choose to be charged in USD while in Houston.

Avoid airport and hotel currency exchanges

Prices of goods and services in airports and most hotels are usually higher than you’ll find elsewhere. If you’re in dire need of cash in one of these locations, convert the minimum you require to get by. When you visit a central location, you can change the rest of your cash at an exchange bureau with more competitive rates. Alternatively, forego the money exchange offices and withdraw USD directly from an ATM.

Spend your money before leaving

Know how much money you want to withdraw or exchange beforehand. Changing back leftover cash at the end of your trip means you’ll be paying conversion fees twice on the same money. Spend any leftover USD instead, especially the coins, or leave the cash aside for your next trip to the U.S.

Where to exchange money in Houston

Currency exchange offices will charge commission, whether it’s quoted upfront or disguised in their exchange rate. Be sure to check the offered rate against the current mid-market rate to determine the fairest deal. Below is a list of in-person money exchange services in Houston.

Currency Bureau Address Contact Information
Texas Currency Exchange 303 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX 77024 713-468-6800
International Currency Exchange Houston G. Bush International Airport, Main Floor, Houston, Texas 77032 713-649-6664
Travelex Currency Services The Galleria, Houston Galleria - Simon Mall, 5085 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77056, United States 713-398-6130
Currency Exchange International 303 Memorial City Mall, Houston, Texas 77024 713-468-6800

The bottom line

If you plan to convert cash at a money exchange office, be sure to check the rate you’ll receive against the mid-market rate. You’ll usually get a better exchange rate withdrawing cash directly from a trusted ATM operator. Remember to choose to be charged in USD, and don’t allow the ATM’s bank to perform the conversion for you.

Better yet, if either you or a friend have access to a USD bank account, 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 the U.S., all those nasty international bank fees magically disappear.

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

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