If you’re heading to Miami for business or just on a mission to worship the sun at some of America’s most famous beaches, you’ll need cash.
With more than 100 foreign consulates and foreign trade offices, Miami’s status as a tourist city with a large international population means you’ll discover so much more currency exchange offices than in the average metropolitan area. According to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami welcomed more than 23 million visitors in 2018.
When tourists need greenbacks, where is the best place to go? While ATMs are often the smartest default option, there are certain circumstances where a currency exchange may be a better bet.
Key points to remember
- Miami-Dade County has a multitude of currency exchange offices.
- Exchange offices have variable opening hours.
- It may be cheaper to exchange currency in your home country with your bank before traveling abroad.
- Always carry cash with you when traveling.
- Changing money through an ATM can be expensive due to the fees charged by the bank for overseas transactions.
If you arrive in Miami
US banks aren’t the only ones charging ATM fees, also known as ATMs, to customers traveling overseas.
Avoid currency exchange kiosks at the airport, they often charge high exchange fees and offer low exchange rates.
If you’re a foreigner planning a vacation or business trip to Miami, check with your bank beforehand to find out their policies on foreign withdrawals and transactions. Of course, even if you have an account with a bank that offers advantageous transaction rates abroad, you may find yourself in a situation: lost bank card, forgotten card Pin code– which requires you to search for the exchange office.
In these cases, you’ll be glad you decided to carry with you the equivalent of a few hundred US dollars in your home currency.
If you’re leaving from Miami
One of the advantages of exchange offices over ATMs is that many banks charge high fees for foreign transactions. US banks typically charge between $2 and $5 for overseas withdrawals, and some also charge transaction fees that amount to 1% to 3% of the total withdrawal. A solution? Look for a bank that offers no foreign transaction and ATM fees.
If your flight departs in 48 hours and you realize that your bank is indeed charging the higher part of these fees, it may be a good idea to visit one of Miami’s money changers.
Money Exchanges in Miami
Whether you’re arriving or departing, here are four controlled places to go with your dollars or foreign currency.
1. Abbot Foreign Money Exchange, 230 NE 1st St., Miami, (305) 374-2336
Easily accessible by local MetroMover train – get off at the First Street station – this currency exchange near Bayfront Park wins positive reviews from customers for its great rates and friendly service.
Like many businesses in Miami, a city sometimes referred to as the “Capital of Latin America”, Spanish is spoken here. Although the range of currencies it has may be limited, it is a particularly good place to exchange dollars for euros.
2. International Currency Exchange, 7535 North Kendall Dr., Miami, (305) 662-7155
A trusted national chain that promises to match or even beat the daily exchange rates offered by local banks, this branch is located in the Dadeland Mall. If you’re just arriving in town, the website has detailed directions from Miami-Dade International Airport. It is open until 9 p.m. every day except Sunday when it closes at 7 p.m.
3. Lincoln Currency Exchange, 1633 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, (305) 672-1633
If you’ve escaped the cold elsewhere and headed straight from the airport to the beach, the Lincoln Currency Exchange offers a convenient place to exchange foreign currency for dollars in the Miami Beach/South Beach area.
With over 80 types of foreign currencies at your fingertips, this is one of the best money changers for travelers from smaller countries whose currencies cannot be carried by most banks and other money changers. . For visitors who like to stay up late, this exchange keeps its doors open until 10 p.m., seven days a week.
4. First Citizens Bank, 250 Palermo Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (305) 639-7200
If you’re a local resident planning a trip overseas and want the security of having some foreign currency on hand before your departure flight, First Citizens Bank in Coral Gables is a solid bet. Offering helpful customer service to those new to the currency exchange business, their rates should be up to market value.
It can be tempting, once you’ve finally dragged your hand luggage down the walkway, through the terminal and cleared customs, to head to the first currency exchange office you see. Don’t give in to jet lag, keep walking. Airport exchange offices offer notoriously low rates compared to market value.
It’s a much better idea to hop in a cab and head into town to a reputable money changer: you’ll happily get plenty more Cuban sandwiches and beachside daiquiris on that stack of bills in your wallet.
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