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5 May

The Apparent Trap

Jetting off to an exotic locale for your honeymoon? Here’s what you need to bear in mind to avoid the pitfalls surrounding foreign exchange

The concept of foreign exchange has always seemed like a complex maze, which has contributed to a gradual proliferation of stakeholders in foreign exchange outlets such as banks, private currency exchange and over-the-counter exchange services at airports. Apart from charging high rates laden with huge margins, these institutions keep travellers in the dark about the exchange value, which akin to stocks, change almost every second. The result is that more often than not, customers feel cheated.

Do what works or you

Establishments like banks or money changers often declare fixed ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ rates, which are predetermined by them after accommodating their organisational and/or personal margins.  Fortunately, the rise of online foreign exchange portals allows the traveller to conduct basic research on the value of the sum and enables him/her to zero in on the most reliable avenue.
But, how does one distinguish between an authentic exchange avenue and a scam? A quality exchange portal will have an alliance with a bank or a reputed exchange company. If you are not a frequent flier, it is advisable to either call or chat with an online forex portal and seek guidance.

Enquire well

Money exchange counters at airports not only charge you more than 10 per cent of the price on exchange margins, but also levy huge fees/commissions. Banks, on the other hand, do not provide much scope for negotiation while adding overhead costs such as processing fees. Private dealers offer comparatively better rates, but are not trusted much owing to their low credibility. In such a scenario, couples must find platforms that provide services in exchange for one-time charge rather than those that continue to add to the cost under different overheads. Furthermore, the reliability of such platforms—over the notoriety of local money changers—cannot be overstated enough.

Pick plastic

Safety issues and insurance have made cash and traveller’s cheques redundant. Newly-weds, therefore, should opt for plastic currency such as credit, debit and forex cards, which provide a host of options and convenience.

A good save!

Duration of travel, destination and aggregate an sum of the transaction can generate savings for the couple, provided they play smart. Given the high value of currency involved, couples are likely to witness larger windows of negotiation. One should avail the rate-lock guarantee, which ensures that upon departure, foreign currency can be exchanged for home currency at the originally obtained rate.

The right deal

One must explore all the features—better exchange rates, flexibility in payments, door-step delivery services and so on. Often, foreign exchange and allied service avenues prove to be of great help, especially when plans have been made in a hurry, leaving no scope for you to personally attend to last-minute tasks. Being well-informed will go a long way in guaranteeing that you return from your vacation with a lifetime of experiences, and not empty pockets.

 

(The author is the founder and CEO of BookMyForex)

 

Photos: Getty Images

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