ATM Cash Withdrawal or Foreign Currency Exchange at Airport?

It is a no-brainer that when traveling, it is important to always have enough money with you at all times. When you arrived at your destination, you basically have two options for acquiring foreign currency: withdrawing cash from ATMs or exchanging your cash to foreign currency. Which is better for you? Let’s take a look at their pros and cons to weigh the options.

ATM Cash Withdrawal at the Airport


ATM machines are easily available
ATMs are one of the easiest ways to obtain money in a foreign country. These days, saying that ATMs are everywhere would not be called as an exaggeration. Banks make sure they are easily available and accessible. Majority of airports have ATM machines strategically place within the arrival halls, so you can easily make your cash withdrawals as soon as you arrived. Find ATM inside airports.

International ATM withdrawals offer good rates
Withdrawing from an international ATM in an airport allows you to get the best exchange rates at the lowest possible cost. The rates at ATM machines are usually better than exchanging currency at your local bank or currency exchange services.


Bank may charge additional fees
When withdrawing money from an ATM, especially one that is out-of-network, your home bank may charge an additional fee, which may range from $2 to $5. This can be waived by talking to your bank before you travel. You need to notify them in any way possible, so that your card will not be blocked on a suspicion of fraud. That is the last thing you ever want to happen to you at a foreign place.

A useful tip to combat this additional charge is to withdraw as much money as you are comfortable walking around with, so that you will not be put into a major disadvantage.

Foreign Currency Exchange at the Airport


Foreign currency exchange desks are easily available at the airport
Perhaps, ATMs are not up in your alley, but in case you need to immediately have your money exchanged into your current country’s currency, you can do so in the airport once you arrive. Getting foreign currency exchange at the airport is convenient especially if you do not want to be hassled by finding another place to exchange your money.


Airport exchange currency desks do not offer competitive rates
Airport currency desks do not have the incentive to offer competitive rates. Many, in turn, take advantage of this. Rates also fluctuate a lot, and companies are free to set their rates and the frequency of which these are updated. Thus, they only do so when it is most convenient to them or when it brings them the most profit.

Converting money to local currency have additional fees and charges
Companies also add unnecessary fees and charges when you convert your money into the local currency. This is because companies operating in airports have high operating expenses and facilities imposed by the airport on them. They, then, pass on these additional fees on unsuspecting travelers. There are even some that impose a service charge. This can eat up as much as two to ten percent of your total money.

Before you travel to another country, do a bit of research to save you from the stress and hassles especially if it concerns your financial needs. These are only the pros and cons of using ATMs and having money converted at foreign exchange counters at airports. Which will you be using? Just remember to always use what best fits your needs to get the most out of your travel money. Happy traveling!