Are you heading to Miami to take in the party atmosphere, or simply for a spot of sun worship?
Before you break out those flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts, you’re going to need some cash to fund your trip. Read this guide to find out how to save the most money when you exchange your currency in Miami.
It pays to have some understanding of how exchange rates work, and where currency exchange services commonly hide extra commission. Here are some factors worth considering before choosing the best place to convert your money.
The US Dollar is an official currency in more than ten countries. It’s also the most traded currency on the international markets and the world’s main reserve currency.
But while it’s always in high demand, the Dollar’s floating exchange rate means its value does fluctuate. The lower the exchange rate, the more dollars you’ll be able to buy with the same amount of money. You can sign up for exchange rate notifications and set up alerts when your currency pairing reaches a desired level. This tool can help you determine the best time to convert your money.
The mid-market rate is the real exchange rate, and the fairest one you could possibly get. Always compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate, so you’ll know how much you’re truly being charged by a foreign exchange service.
Finding the mid-market rate is easy. To check out the live rate, use the TransferWise currency converter or search the currency pair on Google.
Miami-Dade International Airport has nine foreign currency exchange kiosks in various locations; on the second floor of the main terminal, the Greeter’s Lobby, and just after the security checkpoints. There are also a number of ATMs and a branch of the Bank of America.
Watch out for the exchange rate you’re offered, though. Services in airports and hotels cater to captive customers. Foreign exchange companies know this, so they’ll often give you a less favourable exchange rate than you’d get elsewhere.
ATMs run by trusted operators often offer a fairest exchange rate than in-person currency exchange offices.
Of course, you’ll want to check with your bank about any applicable foreign withdrawal fees, otherwise your transaction might be more expensive than you anticipated. Some banks have special arrangements with foreign banks, meaning you can often use ATMs fee-free or at reduced cost.
If your home bank is part of the Global ATM Alliance, you can make withdrawals fee free from the Bank of America's ATM machines.
If you’re a Citibank customer, you can make free withdrawals from Citibank’s ATMs worldwide. You can find a list of Citibank ATMs in Miami here.
Using an ATM in Miami is only a good idea if you perform the transaction in dollars. If an ATM asks you whether you’d like to be charged in dollars or in your home currency, you should always choose dollars. Otherwise, you’ll be facing a very unfavourable exchange rate.
Most foreign exchange companies charge you one rate when they sell you a currency and a different rate when they buy it back from you. This means that selling back any leftover dollars you may have is rarely a good idea, as you’ll probably lose out on the transaction.
Try to budget well to avoid having leftover cash at the end of your trip. Otherwise, spend your Dollars while in Miami, or set it aside for your next trip to the U.S.
If you prefer to change cash at an in-person exchange bureaus, there’s a few selection available to you in Miami. Listed in the table below are some options you could consider.
Always compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate before you decide. Remember, even if a company says it doesn’t earn a commission, they’ll still be making a profit by building it into the exchange rate they offer.
|Currency Bureau||Address||Contact Information|
|Lincoln Currency Exchange||1633 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139||+1 305-672-1633|
|Euro Exchange USA||242 NE 1st Street, Miami, FL 33132||+1 305-377-2536|
|Global Market Business||103 NE 3rd Ave, Miami, FL 33132||+1 305-371-2208|
|Foreign Currency Express||2895 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140||+1 305-407-5124|
As tempting as it may be to head over to the first foreign exchange kiosk you see at the airport or at your hotel, this is usually a bad idea. To access a fairer exchange rate, withdraw dollars directly from a trusted ATM operator. Remember to choose to be charged in the local currency to avoid incurring extra fees.
Or, even better, if either you or a friend has access to a USD account in Miami, 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 also be sent and received using local banks, bypassing those nasty international banking fees.