Going on vacations or work are very common nowadays. The introduction of low cost carriers have made going overseas very affordable too. However, how do you ensure you are getting the best bargains from money changers? Though Singapore is a small city-state, more than 450 Money changers of all sizes are making their presence felt in every estate. If you are on a shopping spree for them, look no further than Orchard road which houses 52.
Why don’t you change money at a bank as banks are more reputable and efficient? Many people told me that banks charge a service fee no matter the amount to exchange for. Moreover, the rates given by banks are nowhere as good as licenced money changers. My friends, who are regular travellers will visit the same money changers for good rates. According to them, money changers will become your friends as time passes. If you are their regular customer, usually, you can get a good rate for the exchange.
Some of them also shared it does not make sense to change currencies at the airport as these money changers might be subsidiaries of the big banks and their rates are in nowhere comparable to those elsewhere. The same principle applies to money changers operating in hotels.
Nowadays, currency conversion sites like XE.com posts exchange rates online that are lower than money changers or banks and excludes fees or commissions. They are usually exchanged in extremely large volumes.
Make use of your smart phone to calculate if the rates quoted works in your favour… First, do an online check on the rates published. Then, you may like to call your bank to confirm the rates you noted earlier.
Before merchants employ the worldwide web as an advertising platform, we would usually ask friends if they knew of any good money changers around town. Now, with the click of the mouse, a whole directory of money changers with contact numbers are staring at you, waiting to be tapped upon.
I recall when I was about to visit Sydney in July 2010, I chatted with some friends about the Australian dollar, which was gaining strength. Some told me that since the amount I needed was small, it didn’t matter at what rate I was given. However, others cautioned me since I was travelling on a tight budget, I should get the most from the exchange rate as Sydney was not a cheap place and food prices could be very high.
I rang up some money changers, with rates variations of between SGD1.185 to $1 Australian dollar and SGD1.25 to $1 Australian dollar. The nearest then was the money changer in Hougang Mall. However, when I got there, “sorry, we ran out of Ausie dollars. Come again tomorrow,” came the answer.
As time was working against me then, Jasmine, a friend then hurried me to Parkway Parade where a few money changers were operating. We spoke with the first two but walked away. When we spoke to an uncle whose outlet was small in comparison, he said, “$1.180, you want or not?” Delighted, I change about $300 Ausie and had a fun-filled 6-day vacation in Sydney.
Another incident in November 2006 where I went alone to Hong Kong. I also did the same thing—rang up many money changers. However, they were not the best deals. I called the money changer at Hougang Mall and found the best deal, $200 for $1,000 Hong Kong Dollars. A week later, my friend who visited Hong Kong told me she could only exchange about $900 Hong Kong Dollars withSGD200 from one situated at Raffles Place.
Therefore, apart from budgeting how much to set aside for the staycation or vacation, scout around for good money changers who will offer you great deals ensuring you stretch your dollars in your relaxation cum enjoyment trip.