Birmingham - affectionately called Brum by the locals - is known as Britain’s ‘second city’. While the city might not be quite so much on the tourist trail as London or Edinburgh, Brum still welcomes nearly a million visitors every year. They’re onto a good thing.
But it all costs - so you're going to need to get your hands on some Sterling to make the most of your trip. So use this handy guide to avoiding the rip-offs, and finding the best places to exchange your cash in Birmingham.
You shouldn’t struggle to find places to exchange your cash in Birmingham, but an awareness of the charges you’re paying will be required to pick out the fair deals from the not-so-fair.
Make your life easier by using an online currency converter which shows you the mid-market rate. This is the rate that matters - it's the one the banks use for large volume trades, and the rate you’ll find on Google. The tourist rates are usually poorer than the mid-market, so use this rate as your benchmark to find the fairest rate on offer.
If you want to find the best deals, forget airport and hotel currency exchange services. Though their locations may win points for convenience, you'll likely lose out on saving money due to the poorer rates you’re often offered.
An equally convenient option to access your cash is to use an ATM where you can simply withdraw your Sterling directly. Before you travel, ask your local bank if they partner with any banks operating in Birmingham. If they do, you might be able to avoid excess charges by using the ATMs of the partner bank
If you do decide to use ATMs to withdraw your Sterling, the machine might offer to have the transaction charged in your home currency. At first glance, it may appear as the better option, but actually it means you'll be paying an extra fee for letting the ATM do the conversion. Say no, otherwise your money will be converted at a rate not disclosed to you upfront. You’ll usually get a fairer rate by choosing to be charged in the local currency.
Avoid finishing your trip with extra cash in your pocket. Spend it instead, or you'll end up being charged conversion fees twice.
Before you choose an exchange service, be clear on the fees and charges they’ll apply. There is no such thing as a free lunch, so even if an exchange service claims ‘0% Commission’, you’ll find that the company takes their cut by offering less favourable rates.
|18 Union Street, West Midlands B2 4SJ||0121 236 0306|
|169A High Street, Kings Heath, West Midlands B14 7DJ||0121 443 1955|
|Birmingham International Train Station,Solihull, West Midlands B40 1PA||0121 782 7790|
You’ll also find locations in Bullring Shopping Centre, Northfield Shopping Centre & Cornbow Shopping Centre. Check the Eurochange store locator for more details.
- Union Street Branch - Mon-Fri 8:30-19:30, Sat 9:00-18:30, Sun 10:00-17:00
- Kings Heath Branch - Mon-Sat 9:30-17:30, closed Sundays
- Birmingham International Train Station Branch - Mon-Fri 7:30-19:00, Sat 8:00-18:00, Sun 9:00-17:00
|34 Union Street, Birmingham, B2 4SR||0121 644 5533|
Monday-Friday 9:00-17:30, Saturdays 9:00-17:00, closed Sundays.
|276, Soho Road, Birmingham, B21 9LZ||0121 515 5921|
Monday-Saturday 9:30-18:00, Sundays 11:00-16:45.
Alternatively - for an even better deal - use Transferwise. If you have a bank account in the UK, or know someone who does, you can transfer money between accounts using the real mid-market exchange rate. It's a convenient way to get your cash, with no hidden fees.