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Accessing favorable currency exchange rates is crucial to traveling abroad, banking overseas or transferring funds to a different country. These tips and tools will enable individuals to secure - and act on - preferable exchange rates for a wire money transfer around the globe.
One of the most important steps that individuals can take to obtain better exchange rates is to use the services of a trusted online foreign exchange provider. "The Online FX platform allows you to check the latest rates by using the 'Quick Quote' tool," says Steven Hunter, head of small enterprises at Western Union Business Solutions. "This means you can easily get an update on where the rate is tracking at any time throughout the day. The online system enables our customers to log in at a time that is convenient to them and get a quick snapshot of where the market is."
Individuals can rely on an online foreign exchange provider to book bids, which enable them to stipulate a price at which they are willing to buy currency and at the quantity they need. If the desired exchange rate becomes available, the online foreign exchange provider will execute the transaction.
Learn More About Using Online FX
It's impossible to watch currency values in the foreign exchange market all night and all day, Hunter says. "[The bidding system] allows us to take control on their behalf with regards to what's being agreed on by the customer. So we can get an up-to-date rate for the customer and secure it in for them at the rate they want."
Developing a relationship with a provider can also save individuals time because their information can be saved online for future cross-border transactions. Plus, individuals can sign up for email market-rate alerts, which notify them when preferred exchange rates become available. This saves individuals time that would otherwise be spent monitoring the foreign exchange market to see when a desired rate becomes available.
If an individual will also be using credit or debit cards while abroad, it's wise to inquire about the extra foreign transaction fees they will incur, says Tom Meyers, editor of EuroCheapo, an online travel site based in New York.
If an individual decides to make small purchases in his or her domestic currency using a credit card, there may be a currency-conversion transaction fee that could range between 3 and 7 percent of the purchase amount. On the other hand, if an individual charges his or her purchase in the foreign currency, there's a chance that the credit card company will assess a foreign-transaction fee that usually ranges between 2 and 3 percent of the purchase amount.
Individuals should ask their credit card companies and banks for information about foreign transaction fees before they embark on their trips to ensure that they use their ATM, credit and debit cards with the lowest fees, Meyers says.
Ultimately, up-to-date knowledge of exchange rates and currency value fluctuations puts individuals in the position to take advantage of favorable exchange rates, resulting in simplified personal transactions.
 "How to avoid foreign-transaction fees," Bankrate.com
Example: 1USD = xx INR
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