Most of the European countries have the same currency, which is the Euro, so if we travel, we buy a house, we make a bank transfer or we receive an age pension from a Euro zone country, we don’t have to worry about currency exchange. But… what happens if we travel to Japan or Brazil?
In these cases, we will need to have the official currency of the country we are going to travel to, this is, we will need to purchase foreign currency. We would also be interested in knowing the value of that foreign currency compared to ours, which is known as currency exchange rate.
Other things we should also know are:
- You may buy foreign currency from different credit institutions or from authorised currency exchange bureaux.
- Currency exchange rates are free, they are likely to fluctuate every day and will normally have a different value depending on whether you’re buying or selling foreign currency. Apart from the currency exchange rate, the credit institution or currency exchange bureau may also charge you a fee, which is also free.
- Before making the transaction, be sure to know its total cost: the credit institution or currency exchange bureau must inform you of the exchange rate and the fee to be charged, should it be the case.
- The European Central Bank publishes the Euro’s official exchange rates for reference purposes, but neither credit institutions nor currency exchange bureaux are obliged to use them in their transactions.
- They also are not obliged to exchange currency from every country. Therefore, you should plan ahead: some currencies are easier to find than others.