Exchanging currency online has become quite commonplace. Online services have significant advantages over traditional, in-person businesses, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same. To find a good online exchange, you should do a bit of research.
As the online exchange market is consistently expanding, online exchanges are offering more services than just buying or selling currency. Home delivery and providing insurance are just some of the benefits you can get by being a patron of a good online exchange.
However, as is the case with any expanding market, there are people who want a piece of the pie, without providing anything of value. Or, worst-case scenario, are running outright scams. So, here is how you can find a good online exchange service and avoid getting scammed.
Convenience Is Paramount
One of the primary advantages of online exchange services is the convenience they provide. You can buy currencies and have them delivered to your door. However, traditional businesses insist on doing everything face-to-face.
Newer companies, like US First Exchange, understand that the number one selling point of online services is the ability to conduct your business from the comfort of your home. After all, if you wanted to go to a bank or exchange office, you wouldn’t be buying currency online.
Find a business that lets you pay by credit card and that does delivery. A good online exchange service will tailor their practices so that they suit you. Yes, it’s more work from them, but if they’re not willing to invest the effort, you can go to another online exchange.
Reliability and Insurance
Your convenience is important, but so is the reliability of the company you buy from. A good exchange service will be flexible, but you also need to know that they will reliably deliver your goods.
Shipping packages is never 100% safe. A lot of things can happen during the transportation of your goods – from human error and misplaced packages to the package being stolen. While it’s not common for these things to happen, there’s always a possibility.
Consequently, you should find an online exchange that is willing to take the responsibility of securing your packages. Look for services that will allow you to take out full-value insurance on your package. This is especially important for high-value packages.
The goal of exchanging currency online is to buy it from your home and have it delivered to your doorstep. You shouldn’t need to be the one to worry about how your package will get to you safely. You should be able to order your currency and insure it, and simply wait for it to arrive.
Besides providing insurance and securely delivering your bought currency, a good online exchange will also deliver it in a timely manner. There’s nothing too complex about this requirement – you want to get your package within a reasonable timeframe, which should be in the range of 24-48 hours.
Sometimes, it may not be overly important how long it will take for your package to arrive. On the other hand, if you are buying foreign currency because you plan on traveling to another country, you shouldn’t need to order it a week in advance to have it in hand for when you’re going on your trip.
There’s no truly good reason for your package to take a long time to arrive. A professional online exchange service will focus on keeping their customers satisfied, and that includes delivering their packages on time.
At the very least, you should know how long it will take for your package to arrive. If you find an online exchange service that isn’t willing to commit to a specific time frame for the arrival of your exchanged currency (or are overly broad, something like – delivery in 1 to 5 days), you should probably look for another company.
Good Exchange Rates
If you are not exchanging large quantities, finding competitive rates doesn’t need to be at the top of your list of factors to consider when choosing an online exchange service. Still, there’s no reason not to look for good rates, even if you are a collector or need a specific currency because you are traveling overseas.
If your aim is to make a profit in forex trading, then competitive exchange rates become that much more important. Buy low, sell high is a simple trading strategy, but it’s not that easy to execute.
Besides making correct predictions, the base exchange rates need to be good and your profit largely depends on the spread if you are planning on profiting in the short term. Most online services will have better rates than banks and especially airport kiosks.
But just because their rates are better than if you were to exchange your money in a kiosk right before a trip doesn’t mean they’re good in general terms. Browse around a bit and compare the rates before you decide to give your business to an online exchange.
Availability of Currencies
Finding competitive prices is one thing, but the currencies you can buy and sell is another. Most, if not all, online exchange services will let you buy and sell the major currencies. However, not a lot of businesses will let you trade in exotic currencies.
Online exchanges that let you buy and sell Iraqi dinar, Vietnamese dong, Indian rupee, and other exotic currencies are few and far between. The same is true of traditional, in-person businesses – most don’t have exotic currencies available. The best online exchanges will carry exotic currencies and you can trade them freely.
Avoiding Online Scams
Finally, if you find an online exchange that lets you pay by credit card, does timely delivery, allows you to take out insurance on your package, has competitive rates, and has exotic currencies available, you need to make sure it’s not a scam.
When it comes to online money service businesses, Google and other search engines are rather good at taking down scams quickly. But just because they get taken down quickly doesn’t mean new ones don’t crop up.
On the positive side, it’s relatively easy to spot a scam, if you know what to look for. First, check whether the business provides a physical address and contact information. You can give them a call to see if they are who they say they are. Many scams will provide fake info and you won’t be able to reach them.
Then, check whether their website has been up for more than a month or two. If the business has been in operation for some time, it’s likely legitimate. If the website is new, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s a scam – it may simply be a new business. But a website that has been in operation for a few months gives you some security.
In the end, you can check whether the online exchange is registered with the department of treasury. Almost all US money service businesses are legally obligated to register, and you can see if they are registered here.
Insert their DBA (Doing Business As) name or legal name in the appropriate tab and the business, if it is legitimate, should come up when you click search. Doing this background check won’t take you more than five minutes and, if everything lines up, you can be reasonably sure that everything is above board.
It Is a Balancing Act
You may not find an online exchange that suits your needs perfectly. But, you can find one that provides almost everything you want if you put in a bit of effort. Check the payment and delivery options, and the rates and availability of currency to find a good online exchange that you like.