Currency exchange abroad: please do your math

Traveling to, or living in a foreign country and using a different currency than your own requires you to do a little bit of number crunching.
Even you have made your calculations well ahead of departure, once you have arrived chances are that you will need more cash than you had initially exchanged at your high-street bank branch before heading to the airport.
This affects those on short-term holiday, as well as potential long-term residents in the process of relocating. So where do we go? Cash aances from a credit card are extremely expensive even at home, and withdrawing from account back home by means of a local ATM may equally cost you dearly, albeit a bit later when your next statement arrives. The only option is to grab the wads of banknotes secretly stashed under your pillow and venture out to a bureau de change.
When traveling abroad we are always in a bit of an awkward situation because our own banks charge too much — at times absurdly high fees — for accessing our accounts from another country. So, we continue to carry cash as we journey overseas in the hopes of finding a local money exchanger who will give us a previously unheard of special deal.
I should not that that the majority of money changers are completely trustworthy and provide a much needed service to visitors. However, there are a considerable number of black sheep amongst them and this is where we must start being more careful.
One common trick is to promote a very favorable rate outside the premises. Consider the exchange rate between the Pound Sterling to the Turkish Lira, which stands at just over 1 to 4 as I pen this article. Let us picture a shop which appears to be going the extra mile and aertising a five percent add-on as long as you exchange a large amount of money. Once inside however that rate drops significantly as you only want to swap one hundred pounds as opposed to say, one thousand. With unfamiliar banknotes changing hands quickly who could be blamed for not spotting the difference and in many cases receiving five percent less instead of more?
Another scam I was alerted to works out as follows: Imagine that you intend to change the same one hundred pound sterling. The rate looks fabulous. All of a sudden the clerk behind the counter says, and”I am so sorry, I only have change for 80 pounds left. Do you want to go ahead?and” Of course you do! But during this apparently honest transaction you do not get the net value of 80 pounds. Itand’s not so much that you would notice on the spot but it is enough to make a nice living for whoever exchanges the currency, assuming that you are one of hundreds of unwitting expats or tourists coming by day in, day out.
To conclude, if I may give you one piece of aice, it is all about what I learned from the Chinese while shopping in Hong Kong: Always carry a pocket calculator or smartphone and before handing over your cash do your figures about what you are entitled to receive in any exchange, whether it be for currency or a product. No honest trader would ever object to that.
Quite often it is a local bank that guarantees the best rate albeit against paying a commission anyhow andndash as long as you do not exchange monies everyday it might just as well be the best deal in town. And finally, one option I have not even mention is the option to exchange currency at your resortand’s hotel. In 99 out of 100 cases you will not get a favorable rate. This is sector specific and it happens in every country.
If you are looking for a good deal at a bank or currency exchanger operation, please do your own math!

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman