Everything You Need to Know about Currency Exchange in Boston

One of the most important tasks to take up once you arrive in Boston from another country is to exchange your own currency for the US dollar. To get public transportation, pay for any goods or food, you need to have the currency of Boston, and you must go through with the currency exchange process as soon as you can to avoid any hassles. 

Here is everything that you need to know about currency exchange in Boston

The currency of Boston: Denominations of the US dollar

US dollars
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Every country has different denominations of their currency, and each denomination holds a different value. When it comes to the US dollar, it has several denominations in terms of paper money and coins, and since the notes are of the same size and colour, you should be very familiar with them.
  • Coins: Unlike in the case of some other currency, coins in US currency hold a lot of value and you must ensure that you pay every single penny and receive the correct change when you make a purchase. The four coin denominations include the penny (1¢), nickel (5¢), dime (10¢) and quarter (25¢).
  • Paper money: As mentioned above, all paper money of the US dollar looks identical in shape and colour, and you must carefully look at each note when paying for something. The denominations in circulation include $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.

Where can you Exchange Currency in Boston?

When it comes to currency exchange in Boston, you must make sure to choose the right service to perform the task to avoid being charged a high exchange fee or being given an unfavourable exchange rate. The following are 6 suitable currency exchange services in the city:

1. Currency Exchange International

Exchange rates by Currency Exchange International
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Situated in Copley Place, Currency Exchange International is an ideal service when you are looking for currency exchange in Boston. They buy and sell over 90 foreign currencies which means you won’t have any problems exchanging your home currency for the US dollar or vice versa and also exchange some foreign coins. Their service is quick, and their rates are better than at any local bank or the airport. Moreover, you can either reserve foreign currency online or on the phone.
Address: 100 Huntington Avenue, Copley Pl, Boston, MA 02116, United States
Timings: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm (Monday- Thursday), 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (Saturday), 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm (Sunday)

2. Travelex Currency Services

A Travelex Currency Services booth
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Although it is advisable not to exchange currency at the airport, it is still convenient, especially if you come in with absolutely no US dollars. Travelex Currency Services at the Boston Logan International Airport suggests that you order your currency online the day before to get the best rates and pick it up immediately when you land. They arrive at these rates by averaging the standard Travelex Retail Exchange Rates, including promotional rates. 
Address: 1 Harborside Dr, Boston, MA 02128, United States
Order timings: By 1:00 pm

3. ATMs

Withdrawing from an ATM
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An effortless way of exchanging currency is through ATMs. They are littered all around the city. If your card permits international transactions, you can take out US dollars from most ATMs while on your trip; keep in mind that a transaction fee is charged upon doing so and you must pay it in the local currency itself. The rates offered are better, the fees charged lower, and they are open 24 hours.
ATMs: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citizens Bank etc.
Address: 601 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210, United States (BoA), 300 Commercial Street # 1, Boston, MA 02109, United States (Wells Fargo), 426 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116, United States (Citizens Bank)

4. ALTOUR

 The ALTOUR logo
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Offering quick and efficient service, ALTOUR is a delegate of the American Express Travel Related Services Company. Located in the Rice Building, they provide the option of exchanging currency online, on the phone or in-person. They assure you of competitive rates and save you from the hassle of waiting at banks. You shall be informed of exchange rates when using a card versus cash, and if you own an American Express card, the fees charged are significantly lower.
Address: 155 Federal St, Boston, MA 02110, United States
Timings: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (Monday- Friday), Saturday- Sunday closed

5. Bank of America

A Bank of America branch
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One of the best options for currency exchange in Boston is the Bank of America. It allows you to exchange currency with branches all around the city if you have a checking or savings account with them. The bank does not charge any fees for ordering it online, and you can also use their mobile app for the same. It is best to find out what the exchange rates are beforehand, especially since they frequently change. Credit card owners must go to a financial centre to order currency.
Address: 699 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116, United States, 100 Federal St, Boston, MA 02110, United States, 60 State St, Boston, MA 02109, United States, 557 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02118, United States etc.
Timings: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (Monday- Friday), Saturday- Sunday

6. Online

The TransferWise logo
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If you are looking to exchange your home currency for US dollars when you visit Boston, one of the easiest ways is to go online. There are several banks and currency exchange services that allow you to do so, and there are special websites dedicated specially for currency exchange. It is highly convenient to order foreign currency online since you can compare the conversion rates and fees, and choose accordingly, and you do not need to go to a bank or an ATM upon arrival. 
Websites: Travelex, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, XE, OANDA, TransferWise, Thomas Cook etc. 

7. American Express

An American Express card
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If you own an American Express card, you can exchange currency upon arrival in Boston. They allow you to exchange your home currency for the US dollar and charge a currency conversion fee. You can go onto your account to find out about these fees, but, depending upon the Amex card you own, you may be exempt from them too. For instance, the Hilton Honor Amex Card and the Delta SkyMiles Blue Card carry no transaction and annual fees. 
Address: 100 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116, United States, 59 Preston Rd, Somerville, MA 02143, United States, 1 Harborside Dr, Boston, MA 02128, United States

8. Wells Fargo

A Wells Fargo ATM
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Carrying over 70 currencies from about 100 countries, Wells Fargo is a great option for currency exchange in Boston since they offer competitive rates. You can order foreign currency online, withdraw from an ATM, on the phone or find an exchange office. Their website gives you an idea of the conversion rates and the fees, and you can also sell your unused currency back to them, though the rates may differ. However, coins cannot be sold back.
Address: 125 High St, Boston, MA 02110, United States
Timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Tips on Exchanging Currency in Boston

Dollar notes
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  1. Find out about the exchange rate in advance: This rule applies to currency exchange in Boston and every city anywhere in the world. While there is only one real rate (mid-market exchange rate), different services will charge different rates, often higher than the real one. It helps to know about the exchange rate in advance to choose the right currency exchange service.
  2. Avoid exchanging currency at the airport: While it may seem like the most convenient option, exchanging your currency at one of the airport kiosks would be a bad idea. Given that most travellers need the money immediately upon landing, these services tend to charge high rates. It would be better if you can manage to exchange some currency in your home country itself for immediate use.
  3. Exchange only as much as you would require: It is undoubtedly impossible to know exactly how much money you would require during the trip but arrive at an estimate and exchange your money accordingly. If you do not use up all the exchanged currency and need to change it back, you will be charged an exchange fee again.
  4. Withdraw money from an ATM: If you have a debit card, determine if your bank charges low international withdrawal fees and consider using it to take out money from an ATM. ATMs are likely to offer a better exchange rate than most other services, and it is also a convenient option since you don’t need to keep a lot of cash on you all the time.
  5. Check for home bank partnerships: Many banks worldwide have partnerships with each other, and Boston is no exception. When you are looking to exchange currency in Boston, find out if your home bank has one with a bank in Boston since you would be charged a lower exchange fee when withdrawing money from their ATM.
  6. Make larger exchange transactions: You are charged an exchange fee each time that you wish to exchange your home currency for the US dollar. To avoid paying these fees multiple times, try to exchange a larger amount of money at once, based on how much you are likely to require during your trip. This way, you avoid the hassle of constantly exchanging currency and also of paying exchange fees.
  7. Do some research on Boston banks: Every bank does not offer the same exchange rate and charges different exchange fees. Moreover, there are some which charge none at all. Try to find out about such banks before you get to Boston to avoid wasting time or having to exchange currency through other services.
  8. Pay the ATM transaction fee in the local currency: Even though it may seem more convenient to pay the exchange fee in your home currency, don’t do it. Instead, choose to pay in the local currency since it avoids having the conversion rate be charged on the fee itself, which is more often than not quite high.
  9. Consider using plastic money: More and more countries are turning towards cashless transactions. Find out whether cash is still prevalent in Boston or not, and if it is the latter, don’t exchange a large amount of money for the US dollar. Instead, get in touch with your bank and find out about the transaction fee so you can use your credit or debit card instead.
  10. Avail discounts: Surprisingly, several banks offer discounts to certain groups of people, such as those above the age of 60, so make sure to find out about such offers. You can save yourself from paying higher exchange fees.
Currency exchange in Boston is an easy task if you do your research well and know about the exchange rates and fees. It goes without saying that you need to convert your home currency to the US dollar to make purchases while in the city; it is key that you are well-informed to avoid any stress.

This post was published by Arushi Bhowmick

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