EXCHANGE RATE LOCATIONS –The Woes of Finding Those “Money Trees”

Gargoyle at the tower of Notre Dame de Paris France

Gargoyle at the tower of Notre Dame de Paris France - Courtesy of Wiki-media Commons

Having trouble finding a place to exchange money when you travel? Have you arrived in another country only to wonder what you were going to do for local currency, where to go to get it?  Have you stood in the middle of a crowded airport terminal with a pile of luggage, wondering which way to go to find a place to get local cash?

I’m betting you have, at least once in your travels. Truth is we all have at some point. Even for the perennial traveler, this can be a big problem. Strange airports or new cities – it’s all confusing at first, and we are all “newbies” there. And once we’ve extended ourselves by going some place new, going beyond our old “comfort zone,” we may discover it’s very difficult to locate the “currency zone” in these new destinations. This means we may just “settle” for a convenient, but high-cost currency exchange kiosk.


Of course, we could always just bring what we need of the local currency with us. But obtaining that before we go abroad can be expensive and time consuming. Then, too, there is the problem of carrying all that money around with you in the form of cash.

Moreover, we’re told not to do this, but instead to get our local currencies from the destination country’s ATMs, using debit or credit cards to get the best deal. We’ve even made that point here, at Currate.com. And it is a truly valid point.

Downtown Chicago WaterFront

Downtown Chicago WaterFront - Courtesy of Wiki-media Commons

So the consensus on currency advice is that you should wait until your arrive at your destination to convert currency. But then there is the question of exactly where do you get that money? Where are the physical locations of these places for currency exchanges?

New York City Financial District - Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

New York City Financial District - Courtesy of Wiki-media Commons

From one who has wandered around Heathrow, Washington’s Dulles, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, and many other large airports, believe me when I say it can be a difficult and time consuming task! This is often due to the sheer size, complexity, and number of terminals at various airports.  Forget currency exchange locations, I’ve even had trouble finding the exits at some airports. Then, when I enter the nearest city, I’m at a complete loss as to where to go.

London Eye London, United Kingdom

London Eye London, United Kingdom

So, with this first in a series of four articles on the subject, we’re going to give you physical locations of five major currency exchange services and also of five major banks for the “top ten” destinations worldwide. Now, you may not see the service or bank of your choice listed here, but rest assured more will be covered in later articles when we list AT M locations for these same destinations. Our overall goal is to try to cover as many of these as we reasonably can.

Now, what are the “top ten” destinations worldwide? Well, that seems to be a matter for considerable conjecture and debate. Everyone has an opinion on this, it seems. And, they can vary widely.

Water Foundation Berlin Germany Deutschland - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Water Foundation Berlin Germany Deutschland - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

So, I’ve decided to base my choices on the newly released book, Time Out. This book relies heavily on various authors living in the subject cities, and the subsequent list is based on their choices. Such things as the look of a metropolis, the “style” overall, the amount and diversity of the city’s cultural offerings, it’s fame as a place of “good eats,” and of course, the position it occupies in the hierarchy of  the world’s greatest cities, are all factors.  And all these writers are considered experts in their fields, accomplished, and up-to-date world travelers. Do remember that negative points, such as poor or often inoperative public transport systems, crime rates, etc., had strong effects on which cities they ultimately chose, and what levels they occupy on the final list.

Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, Barcelona, Courtesy Wiki-media Commons

Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, Barcelona, Courtesy Wiki-media Commons

So you may find the book’s choices interesting as a result. There are the usual cities right near the top, but there are also a number of “ties” for cities we might not have normally considered as “top ten” destinations.

Here’s the list as Time Out details it:

  1. New York (USA)
  2. London (United Kingdom)
  3. Paris (France)
  4. Berlin (Germany)
  5. Barcelona (Spain)
  6. (5) Chicago (USA) (Yes, it is tied with Barcelona for fifth.)
  7. (5) Tokyo (Japan) (Also tied for fifth.)
  8. Istanbul (Turkey)
  9. Rome (Italy)
  10. (9) Sydney, Australia (Tied with Rome.)

If you would like more information on how and why each of these cities were chosen for the “top ten,” please use the reference link at the end of this article to check it all out for yourself.

Below the body of this article, you will also find our list of five exchange services and their various locations in these cities, as well as five major banks with their branch locations. For the exchange services, all locations (as shown on their own websites) are listed. However, for banks, sometimes there were just so many, that I limited it to a maximum of ten locations for these for each city. Also, some are branches with ATMs as well, but I concentrated on actual physical offices.

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina Roman Forum Rome, Italy - Courtesy of Wiki-Media Commons

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina Roman Forum Rome, Italy - Courtesy of Wiki-Media Commons

What criteria did I use to select these particular services/banks? Well admittedly, it was somewhat arbitrary, because there are lots of them. And again, some others will be listed later in this subject’s series, such as Western Union. Western Union is seen by the majority, it seems, as principally for “wiring” money to various destinations. Actually, they do far more than that, and so again, will be covered in a later article. For exchange services, I went by those which seemed to have a large presence, either in the general public’s mind, or on the Internet, where most people now first turn to for this type of  information. One surprising result of this is that although some had a substantial Internet presence, they had no phsyical locations at all to go to, but instead rely upon sending the money by various methods to their customers. Needless to say, this has some drawbacks for the fast moving traveler.

Shinjuku Street Downtown Tokyo, Japan - Courtesy of Wiki-Media Commons

Shinjuku Street Downtown Tokyo, Japan - Courtesy of Wiki-Media Commons

As for banks, these are based, again, on their presence in the American public’s mind and news of late, as well as being major banks here in the United States. You may find it surprising how some of them have so little in the way of branches abroad. Bank of America, for instance, although a powerhouse here in America, relies principally on “allied” banks and their ATMs in most countries to allow its customers to get local currency. There will be more on this subject, as well, when we discuss ATM locations abroad in a later article.

Sunset over the Golden Horn Istanbul Turkey - Photo by Bertil Videt 2003, Courtesy Wiki-media Commons

Sunset over the Golden Horn Istanbul Turkey - Photo by Bertil Videt 2003, Courtesy Wiki-media Commons

Please be aware that the locations are based on these corporations’ websites, and/or other sites that listed such. We cannot, of course, guarantee their absolute reliability, since branches open and close, and the current worldwide economic conditions have had a strong impact on the financial sector. I noted that some branches, now open, will be closed early in 2010, so I deliberately did not include them in the list. Therefore, before you go abroad, double-check that these locations are still accurate, still open, and still providing the services you  need.  Finally, also notice that in many cities, the major services seem to “cluster” in the same locations. If you want to know where the financial centers are, just use these clusters as your guide.

Sydney Opera House Sydney Australia - by Anthony Winning, Courtesy of Wiki-Media Commons

Sydney Opera House Sydney Australia - by Anthony Winning, Courtesy of Wiki-Media Commons

And as always with currency exchange matters, before you even begin to worry about when and where to go to get that destination’s money, remember to first go to Currate.com. At Currate.com’s website you will find a “one-stop-shopping” approach to all the currency exchange rate information you need. Currate.com lists currency exchanges rates that are reliable because they are regularly updated.  It has a great, easy-to-use currency converter calculator, as well as a Google-style world map with “point and click” to your destination capability of over 240 countries. And, if you have a mobile phone with Internet Browser ability, you can just go to http://currate.com/basic. If your mobile phone use more enhanced features, try http://currate.com/enhanced. If you do this, you need never be without reliable exchange rate information close at hand, even when traveling abroad. And finally, Currate.com has actual images of over 180 currencies. This is a great feature for the new traveler, as well as for any traveler who finds themselves in a country with an unfamiliar currency.


Now, here’s that list of locations for the “top ten” cities, as we promised:

TABLES OF MAJOR CURRENCY EXCHANGE SERVICES AND BANKS

-CURRENCY EXCHANGE SERVICES-

Note: Western Union offices are not included due to excessive exchange costs.

New York, United States of America – USD Dollar Currency USD Dollars Exchange Rates Currency
American
Express (4)
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange (2)
Travelex (4)
200 Vesey St.
New York, NY 10281
N/A JFK International
Airport Terminal 1
(2)
Arrivals and Departure
Jamaica, New York 11430
1271 Broadway/32nd Street
New York, New York, 10001
151 W 34th St.
Fashion District, NY 10120
590 Broadway/48th Street
New York, New York, 10036
822 Lexington Ave. 63rd St.
Lenox Hill NY
10021
29 Broadway
New York, New York, 10006
374 Park Ave.
Midtown NY
10022
30 Vesey St.
New York, New York, 10007


London, United Kingdom – GBP Pound Sterling Currency Great Britian United Kingdom GBP Pound Sterling Currency
American
Express (4)
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex (7)
30-31 Haymarket
London
SW1Y 4EX
51 Moorgate
London
, EC2 R6BH
Earl’s Court
181 Earl’s Court
London SW5 9RD
9 Russell Square
London
, WC1B 5EH
60 Buckingham Palace Rd
London
, Greater London
SW1W 0RR
Euston Rail Station
London NW1 2DU
Basement, Selfridges
400 Oxford Street
London
, W1A 1AB
84 Kensington High Street
Kensington
London W8 4XP
London Gatwick Airport
South Terminal
Railway Concourse
West Sussex RH6 0RD
Royal National Hotel
Woburn Place
London, WC1H 0DG
Belgrave House
76 Buckingham Palace Road
London, SW1W AX
London Heathrow Station
Heathrow Airport
Hounslow Middlesex TW6 2JA
Tower of London
Tower Hill
London, EC3N 4AB
London Luton Airport
Terminal Building
Departures Concourse
Luton Bedfordshire LU2 9LR
Airside Arrivals / Departures
Landside Departures (Main)
London City Airport (3)
Royal Docks, Silvertown
London City Airport
London E16 2PX
241 / 339 Oxford Street
London
W1R 1AA / W1C 2JB
Paddington Station
London W2 1HB
56 / 86 Queensway
London W2 3RY / W2 3RR
Waterloo Station
EuroStar
Main Concourse
London SW1W9TP
Westfield Shopping Centre
Unit 2119, Ariel Way
London W12 7GE


Paris, France – EUR Euro Currency EUR Euro Currency
American
Express
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex
Paris Airport (10 locations)
Roissy Charles de Gaulle
Terminal 1 (3)
- Transfer Level (Satellite 3)
- Arrivals (Public Zone, Gate 16)
- Departures (Public Zone, Gate 10)
Terminal 2A – Departures (Gate 5)
Terminal 2B – Departures (Gate 7)
Terminal 2C (2) Gate 6 & Customs Zone
Terminal 2D – Departures (Gate 6)
Terminal 2E – Departures  (Gate 6)
Terminal 2F1 – Arrivals (Gate 6)
95741 Paris
N/A 01 Rue Auber
75009 Paris
125, ave. des Champs-Elysees
75008 Paris
5, Rue Scribe
75009 Paris
140 Av. Des Champs Elysees
75008 Paris
194, rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris
91 Boulevard de Strasbourg
75010 Paris
25, boulevard des Capucines
75002 Paris
9, Rue Berger
75001 Paris
36-42, rue Rambuteau
75003 Paris
Gare du nord
Terminal
Eurostar Station
75010 Paris
4 boulevard St. Michel
75006 Paris
Quai Transversal
Rue de Dunkerque
75010 Paris
45, avenue de l’Opera
75002 Paris
Train Blue – Gare de Lyon
20, Boulevard Diderot
75012 Paris
52, avenue des Champs-Elysees
75008 Paris
8, place de l’Opera
75009 Paris
84, boulevard de Clichy
75018 Paris
Gare du Nord
18, rue de Dunkerque
75010 Paris
Gare Montparnasse
Niveau Departs Grandes-Lignes
11, blulevard de Vaugirard
75015 Paris


Berlin, Germany Deutschland – EUR Euro CurrencyEUR Euro Currency
American
Express
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex
Fasanenstraße 81
10623 Charlottenburg
Berlin
N/A Berlin-Schönefeld Airport
Airport Terminal 1
Terminal A – Arrivals
12529 Schönefeld
N/A
Bayreuther Straße 37 10787
Berlin
Berlin Tegel Airport
Terminal A (Gate 0)
13405 Berlin


Barcelona, Spain – EUR Euro CurrencyEUR Euro Currency
American
Express
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex
Passeig de Gràcia 101
08008 Barcelona
——N/A—— Barcelona Airport
La Caixa
Currency Exchange Bureau
de Change
Terminal 1
——N/A——
La Ramblas 74
08002 Barcelona
Barcelona Airport
La Caixa
Currency Exchange Bureau
de Change
Terminal 2 (Food Court)
08008 Barcelona

* approximate times

Diagonal/Proveca
Barcelona Metro
Chicago, United States of America – USD Dollar Currency USD Dollars Exchange Rates Currency
American
Express
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex
5209 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
N/A Chicago O’Hare Airport
Terminal 3
or
International Terminal
Des Plaines, IL 60018
19 South La Salle St.
Chicago
, IL 60603
1501 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
360 N. Michigan Ave.
(Inside US Bank)
Chicago, IL 60601
605 North Michigan Ave. Suite 105, Entrance East on Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611


Tokyo, Japan – JPY Japanese Yen CurrencyJPY Japanese Yen Currency
American
Express
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex
30-16, 4-chome Ogikubo
Suginami-ku
Tokyo 167-8530
N/A Tokyo Narita Airport
Greenport Agency (GPA)
Terminal 1
4th Floor Departures
Tokyo
1-1 Kanda-Hanaokacho
Chiyoda-Ku

Tokyo 101-0028
Tokyo Narita Airport
Greenport Agency (GPA)
Terminal 1
3rd Floor Departures South Wing
Tokyo
141 Building 1F
1-4-2 Nishishingjuku
Shinjukuku

Tokyo 160-0023
15F, Akasaka Twin Tower
East Building

2-17-22 Akasaka Minato-ku
Tokyo 107-0052
c/- Keisei Tabi Room,
Narita Airport
Second Build Station
1-1 Furugome, Narita City, Chiba
Tokyo, 282-0004
c/- JR Tokyo Station Gransta Concierge
1-9-1 Marunouchi
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, 100-0005
c/- Keisei Tabi Room
Narita Airport
First Building Station
1-1Goryobokujyo
Sanrizuka, Narita City, Chiba
Tokyo, 282-0011
c/o Keisei Railways
Keisei Ueno Station
1-60 Ueno Koen Taito-ku
Tokyo, 110-0007
Haneda International Terminal
Haneda Airport 3-4-4
Otaku
Tokyo, 144-0041
Toho Towin Tower 1F
1-5-2 Yurakucho
Chiyodaku
Tokyo, 100-0006
Yaesu Shopping Mall No. 2
Yaesu 2-1
Chuo-ku
Tokyo, 104-0028


Istanbul, Turkey – TRY Turkey Liras CurrencyTRY Turkey Liras Currency
American
Express
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex
Maya Akar Center
New York State  Banking Dept.
Kat 5 – Daire 23, Büyükdere Caddesi
Central Bank (Turkey);
No. 100-102, 34394 – Esentepe, Istanbul
N/A Atatürk Airport
Terminal B International
Döviz Bürosu Office
Arrival Hall
N/A


Rome, Italy – EUR Euro CurrencyEUR Euro Currency
American
Express
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex
Piazza Di Spagna 38
Rome, 00187
N/A N/A Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (4)
Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci di Fiumicino
Arrival Luggage B & C
Gate B & C
Rome 00050
Cinecitta
Largo Caduti Di E1 Alamein 9
Rome, 00173
Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport
Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci di Fiumicino
Partenze
Rome 00050


Sydney, Australia – AUD Australia Dollar CurrencyAUD Australia Dollar Currency
American
Express
Currencies
Direct
International
Currency Exchange
Travelex
Level 17, 175 Liverpool Street
New York State Banking Dept.
Sydney NSW 2000
N/A Sydney Airport
ANZ Foreign Exchange
International Terminal 1
Sydney
c/- Citibank
2 Park Street (cnr George Street)
Sydney NSW 2000
50 Pitt Street
(Westpac Banking Corp)
Sydney NSW 2000
Central Railway Station
Sydney Terminal

13 Eddy Avenue Ramp
Sydney NSW 2000
c/- Citibank Haymarket
695 George Street
Haymarket
Sydney, NSW 2000
275 George Street
(Westpac Banking Corp)
Sydney NSW 2000
Springfield Avenue &
Darlinghurst Rd junction
King Cross

Sydney
c/- HSBC
28 Bridge Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
275 George Street
(Westpac Banking Corp)
Sydney NSW 2000
c/- HSBC
724-728 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
296 George Street
(Westpac Banking Corp)
Sydney NSW 2000
c/- HSBC
92 King Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
341 George Street
(Westpac Banking Corp)
Sydney NSW 2000
Multi-Currency ATM
Departures Level
Landside (pre-customs)
Sydney, NSW 2020
673 George Street
(Westpac Banking Corp)
Sydney NSW 2000
Shop 15C, Lower Ground 2
Queen Victoria Building
455 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Sydney International Airport (2)
Multi-Currency ATMs
- Departures – Airside (post-customs)
- Arrivals – Airside (pre-customs)
Sydney, NSW 2020

-BANKS- (to be added shortly)


Rob Shelsky, Currate.com Contributing Editor
Robert Rademacher, Currate.com Editor-in-Chief

References:

Time Out’s Top Ten Greatest Cities In The World
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/holiday_type/breaks/article6818787.ece

American Express Offices, CitiDex New York City
http://www.citidex.com/30.htm

American Express, London
http://www212.americanexpress.com/dsmlive/dsm/int/gb/en/personal

American Express Europe, Asia
http://www.amextravelresources.com/

American Express Australia
http://www.americanexpress.com/australia/personal/te/fes/locations.shtml#NSW

Travelex USA Branches
http://www.travelex.com/us/locations/default.asp?step=2&lang=ENG

HSBC USA Branch Locations
http://www.banking.us.hsbc.com/HICServlet?cmd_GetUSMap=

HSBC International Branch Locations
http://www.us.hsbc.com/1/2/3/personal/inside/about/hsbc-worldwide

Currencies Direct
http://www.currenciesdirect.com/common/contact_display_au.aspx

Currencies Direct (About Us)
http://www.currenciesdirect.com/uk/aboutus/keyfacts.aspx

ICE Branch Locations – United Kingdom
http://www.iceplc.com/branchlocator/uk.shtml

Foreign Currency Exchange Services
http://fceservices.com/

Bank of America (Worldwide Branch Offices)
http://locators.bankofamerica.com/locator/locator/LocatorAction.do

Bank of America (Chicago Branch Offices)
http://locators.bankofamerica.com/locator/locator/CHICAGO_IL/branch_and_atm_locations/locations.html

Capital One (New York Branch Locations)
http://maps.capitalone.com/locator/BranchSearch.action?search=&_sourcePage=index.jsp&address=&city=New+York&state=NY&zip=&searchType=branchSearch&Search.x=28&Search.y=14

Capital One (Contact Info for United Kingdom)
http://www.capitalone.com/contactus/uk.php

Chase
https://www.chase.com/

Chase (Contact Info)
https://www.chase.com/ccp/index.jsp?pg_name=ccpmapp/shared/assets/page/findus

Wells Fargo (Branch Locations)

https://www.wellsfargo.com/locator/

Barcelona
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