Learn About Foreign Currency Exchange

The exchange of foreign currency is a staple of international travel, yet it is more than likely one of the last items checked off the to-do lists. No one can be blamed for thinking of Piña Coladas on the beachfront, that black diamond on the tallest mountain or the big conference show that hinges on your team's speech instead. As travel goes though, it is always a necessity. Whether it's petty cash for taxi rides or the ability to pay for your first beer in the pub, we want you to celebrate more and worry less by arriving with the currency of your destination in hand. Remember, CXI remains here to service your foreign currency exchange needs quickly, conveniently, and most of all at a great rate.

To help familiarize yourself with foreign currency exchange, we have put together some common questions for the process in general and with CXI in particular.

Common Questions About Foreign Currency Exchange (FAQs)

While credit and debit cards have continued to gain in use and acceptance internationally, it is simple to overlook the many times in your regular daily life you must use cash. In the United States, more than half of all transactions valued less than $50 are completed with cash. This is the same, if not more prevalent, while traveling around the world where local shops may allow for additional haggling or limited acceptance becomes an issue.

In other cases, we have seen customers come back to our branches with a smile saying they were happy they had the cash ready to go when they landed. Some just for the immediate convenience and others for peace of mind.

One scenario is that the traveler's bank or credit card issuer put a hold on their card for perceived possible fraudulent charges even after the customer had notified them of their trip. This is tough to deal with in different time-zones and hemispheres, not to mention banks are rarely known for their high level of phone support. When this has occurred, our customers were prepared with cash in hand. Being stranded without a payment method outside of the U.S. is easily avoided by purchasing foreign currency.

ATMs provide a good backup when traveling in other countries, but are not necessarily the best choice when it comes to obtaining foreign cash. Many ATMs and debit cards have maximum transactions and fees associated with using the machines. This means you may only be able to take out 200 euros at a time. Once you have completed multiple transactions through the ATM, the fees and rate used can easily rack up to be much more costly than doing one exchange transaction with CXI. As well, in some countries ATMs are one of the most prevalent places for card skimming to occur, making available your bank account information to those looking to commit fraud.

An exchange rate between two currencies is the price of a country's currency in relation to another currency (called a currency pair). An exchange rate thus has two components, the domestic currency and a foreign currency.

Currencies can be quoted either directly (how much 1 domestic currency unit, for example: $1USD is X amount of Euros, is worth in the foreign currency) or indirectly (how much 1 foreign currency unit, for example: 1 Euro is X amount of USD, is worth in the domestic currency).

This is one of the most common foreign currency exchange questions out there and it is easy to understand why. The rates posted online and in newspapers is what is called the interbank rate.

The currency market is a decentralized market where there isn't one exchange where every foreign currency exchange trade is recorded. Instead, each market maker records their own transactions and keeps it as proprietary information. The primary market makers who make bid and ask spreads in the currency market are the largest banks in the world. They deal with each other constantly, which is why the market on which banks conduct transactions is called the interbank market. This market contains deals done in the millions and billions of dollars and is not done in a public forum for others to participate in.

This means there is no central entity that governs currency exchange rates. The interbank market is a credit approved system where banks trade based on their credit relationship they share with each other. The larger the forex retail the more favorable pricing it can get from the interbank market.

CXI is unique in that it is a net buyer of foreign currency, the company-owned branches provide an influx of foreign currency that it can in turn make available for sale through its wholesale network relationships. This synergy effectively allows CXI to minimize the currency costs of buying and selling on the interbank market, affording CXI the ability to offer its customers and clients extremely competitive rates while providing its Best Rate Guarantee*.

Airports are notorious for being the costliest place to exchange foreign currency. They see it as the last place you can exchange before getting to your destination; therefore, they can charge exorbitant rates or fees. As for banks, CXI has a Best Rate Guarantee* that we will match or beat any local bank or airport for the same product and service on the same day and time of the exchange. Not only do we guarantee this, we keep most major currencies in stock daily and allow you to place orders over the phone, where most bank branches will require you to be an account holder, come into their branch (during banking hours) to request currency, and then return another day to pick up the currency. Most of CXI's locations are open seven days a week and have much longer business hours to help you on your schedule.


  • Specialize in services other than foreign currency exchange. Their expertise lies in traditional banking services and not in foreign exchange, and as a result, foreign exchange knowledge and services may be limited.
  • Can charge higher exchange rates and fees.
  • Make customers wait for currency when ordering and visit TWICE - once to order and once to pick up the order.
  • Only deals with account holders and can have minimum or maximum order amounts.
  • Are closed on holidays and only operate during bank hours.


  • Specialize in foreign exchange - it is all we do, offering rare and exotic currencies in addition to more commonly used currencies.
  • Give great rates and a low fee leveraging our access to foreign currency as wholesaler and retailer.
  • Offer a Best Rate Guarantee that we will beat any bank or airport exchange rate on the same day for the same amount of currency.
  • Hold most major currencies in stock daily for immediate availability, while providing a wide variety of foreign currencies with only a minimal waiting period.
  • Buy foreign currency from customers and issues immediate payment.
  • Give customers a range of options, including traditional foreign cash exchange, buying and selling of American Express traveler's checks, and the safety of a Cash Passport pre-paid travel card.
  • Are safely and conveniently located in major areas, many in shopping centers or malls offering extended operating and holiday hours.

This guarantee means CXI's company-owned location will match or beat the exchange rate given by any local bank or airport for the same product and service on the same day and time of the exchange. If you find a better rate within the same city and on the same day as the CXI branch you plan to exchange with, notify the CXI branch. Our branch will confirm that the rate you present is for the same amount and currency as you plan to exchange with CXI. Once confirmed with the bank or airport, CXI will match or beat the given rate. This is only valid prior to an exchange and is not valid after an exchange has already been completed.

Please note that the policies of affiliate-owned locations listed on our website may vary – please contact affiliate-owned locations at their listed phone number to confirm whether they offer this Best Rate Guarantee.

Yes, you may purchase foreign currency at our branches with all major credit cards. For rates, limitations and fees, please contact the closest CXI branch to you.

Unfortunately, CXI cannot sell or buy in foreign coins at any of its branches. This is common amongst most exchange companies and financial institutions. It is a good idea to use any foreign coins to pay for any of your last meals or snacks because it will be extremely difficult to get rid of the coins at a good value otherwise. If you do have any left over foreign coins, you can donate them to the UNICEF Change For Good program.

Currency Exchange International carries most major currencies daily for our customer's convenience. With that in mind, it is encouraged for customers to call ahead to place an order. This will allow our branch to make sure we have enough currency in stock for you and the next customer that may want the same currency. If it is not in stock, we will take your information and call you as soon as it comes into the branch. No down payment or deposit is required unless you are ordering a large amount of a minor currency, in which case a deposit may be required to hold the currency. The currencies listed below are subject to change without notice.

Major Currencies

Country/Currency Code Country/Currency Code Country/Currency Code
Australia Dollar AUD Hong Kong Dollar HKD South Africa Rand ZAR
Brazil Real BRL Japan Yen JPY Sweden Kronor SEK
Canada Dollar CAD Mexico Peso MXN Switzerland Franc CHF
China Yuan CNY New Zealand Dollar NZD Taiwan Dollar TWD
Denmark Kroner DKK Norway Kroner NOK Thailand Baht THB
European Central Bank Euro EUR Singapore Dollar SGD United Kingdom Pound Sterling GBP

Minor Currencies

Country/Currency Code Country/Currency Code Country/Currency Code
Afghanistan Afghanis AFN Honduras Lempira HNL Pakistan Rupee PKR
Bahamas Dollar BSD Hungary Forint HUF Paraguay Guarani PYG
Bahrain Dinar BHD Iceland Krona ISK Peru New Sol PEN
Bangladesh Taka BDT India Rupee INR Philippines Piso PHP
Barbados Dollar BBD Indonesia Rupiah IDR Poland Zloty PLN
Belize Dollar BZD Iraq Dinar IQD Qatar Riyal QAR
Bermuda Dollar BMD Isle of Man Pound IMP Romania New Leu RON
Bolivia Boliviano BOB Israel Sheqalim ILS Russian Federation Ruble RUB
Bulgaria New Leva BGN Jamaican Dollar JMD Saudi Arabia Riyala SAR
Cayman Islands Dollar KYD Jersey Pound JEP Scotland Pound SCP
Central African Franc XAF Jordan Dinar JOD Seychelles Rupees SCR
Chile Peso CLP Kenya Shillings KES Sri Lanka Rupee LKR
Colombia Peso COP Korean Won KRW Tahiti Franc XPF
Costa Rica Colones CRC Kuwait Dinar KWD Tanzania Shillings TZS
Croatia Kuna HRK Lebanon Livres LBP Trinidad and Tobago Dollar TTD
Czech Republic Dollar CZK Lithuania Litai LTL Tunisia Dinar TND
Dominican Republic Peso DOP Malaysia Ringgit MYR Turkey Lira TRY
Eastern Caribbean Dollar XCD Mauritian Rupee MUR Ukraine Hryvnia UAH
Egypt Pound EGP Morocco Dirham MAD United Arab Emirates Dirham AED
Fiji Dollar FJD Nepal Rupees NPR Uruguay Peso UYU
Gibraltar Pound GIP Nicaragua Cordoba NIO Vietnam Dong VND
Guatemala Quetzal GTQ Northern Ireland Pound NIP West African Franc XOF
Guernsey Island Pound GGP Oman Rial OMR    

Currencies Available for Sale

Country/Currency Code
Argentine Peso ARS
Venezuela Bolivar Fuentes VEF

Countries Using the Euro

Austria Estonia Germany
Italy Malta Slovenia
Belgium Finland Greece
Latvia The Netherlands Slovakia
Cyprus France Ireland
Luxembourg Portugal Spain