Foreign exchange has always been a complex maze and very few customers can claim to have ‘complete’ knowledge of the processes involved. This has contributed to a gradual proliferation of various stakeholders in the domain of foreign exchange, such as banks, private currency-changers and over-the-counter foreign exchange services at airports. Apart from charging exorbitant rates, overloaded with huge margins, these institutions do not let the traveler know that foreign exchange rates, akin to stocks, change almost every second. The result? More often than not, customers end up feeling cheated, or begin their trip with the bitter aftertaste of not having bagged a good enough deal on their hard-earned cash.
Enlisted below are certain pointers that might help newly-weds to stay on cloud nine all through their wedding or honeymoon, and not let the high come crashing down with dwindling forex reserves-
Find the rate which suits you the best- Banks and money changers show almost constant ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ rates as these are pre-decided after accommodating huge margins for themselves. Fortunately, online forex marketplaces have emerged in the recent past. Do some basic research on google to figure out the most reliable on-line retail forex marketplace. As forex markets fluctuate every second, there are options to go with forex marketplace that offer you real time rates with updates every 3 seconds. High quality forex market place will have tie up with Banks and reputed exchange companies and will be able to offer you best rates at each city and for each forex product. Newly-weds should check out these platforms to zero in on a rate that suits them the best. If you not a frequent flier, buying forex can be tricky and it would be good idea to call up / chat with an online forex place and get all your answers.
Inquire about the allied costs-Money changing counters at airports can not only rip off more than 10% on exchange margins, but also charge huge fess/commissions. Banks, on the other hand, do not provide much scope for negotiation, while adding on several overhead costs such as processing fees. Private money changers, while providing better rates, are not trusted much as they have low credibility. In fact, there are local legends in popular honeymoon destinations such as Bali of how money changers in tourist hotspots like Kuta will hand you a wad of thousand Rupiahs which will be counted in front of you. Once you reach the hotel, you’ll realize that a few notes are magically missing from the pile.
In such a scenario of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, couples heading for foreign shores need to find platforms that provide services for one-time, upfront charges rather than keep adding to the cost under different overheads. The reliability of such platforms over notorious local money changers, of course, cannot be overstated enough.
Prefer plastic-Lack of safety and insurance has made cash redundant and traveler’s checks are cumbersome. Newly-weds, therefore, should opt for plastic currency such as credit, debit and forex cards which provide a host of options and functionalities. In view of the security protection and peace of mind that they offer, carrying these cards offer lots of travel perks that will sweeten the deal more.
Savings-The duration of the wedding or the honeymoon, the place chosen and the amount of transaction involved can generate certain amount of savings for the couple, provided they play smart. With a higher amount of currency exchange involved, couples have a larger window of negotiation. Newly-weds should also avail the rate-lock guarantee, which ensures that upon departure, the foreign currency can be exchanged for the home currency at the originally obtained rate.
Services offered- Newly-weds need to explore all the features provided by the currency exchange organization to optimize their deal. Better exchange rates, flexibility in payments, door-step delivery services etc. need to be considered before sealing the deal and zeroing in on the platform/exchange of choice. Sometimes, these allied services are of great help, especially when plans have been made in a hurry, leaving no scope to personally attend to these last-minute tasks.
Weddings and honeymoons do not happen frequently. Thus, newly-weds need to ensure that every step they take enriches and optimizes the journey and help them get the most out of their foreign exchange deals. Most importantly, it is necessary to be aware and inquisitive about the procedures involved while dealing with foreign exchange, which will go a long way in guaranteeing that you have a trip of your dreams and return with a lifetime of experiences, and not empty pockets!The writer is CEO & Co-founder, BookMyForex.com