Airport Currency Exchange Rate: Factors, Process and Pros & Cons 

Airport Currency Exchange Rate
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Taking a tour abroad is always an exciting experience and to make this journey hassle-free, getting hold of local currency is important. Most of us are aware of the different ways to exchange foreign currency like banks, online forex brokers (through a travel agent), or exchange at an airport. 

With these multiple options available, you should always check where you can get the best exchange rates. Usually, the exchange rates at international airports are very high. With high exchange rates and last-minute currency exchange, you lose a lot of money. 

Let’s learn about the basics of airport currency exchange rates- how they work, the factors influencing them, and savvy tips to make the most of your money while travelling. 

Understanding Airport Currency Exchange Rate

Currency exchange rates represent the value of one currency relative to another. And it is possible to exchange a currency at different rates due to various factors. At airports, these rates determine how much of one currency you will get in exchange for another currency. 

For example: the amount of US dollars received in exchange for Indian rupees. 
If you are travelling to New York and looking to exchange currency legally in New York, try not to do it at hotels or airports. Airport currency exchange rates are often less favourable compared to rates available in the market via other means. This difference exists because the currency exchange services at the airport include additional fees or commissions to cover operating costs. 

Understanding airport exchange rates is crucial as it directly affects the amount of local currency you get when exchanging money. Small variations in exchange rates can result in noticeable differences in the money you ultimately have for your trip. 

These rates are calculated based on various factors, including the country’s economic conditions, supply, and demand for currencies, geopolitical factors, and the exchange service provider’s fees and profit margins. 

Currency exchange rates at airports are very dynamic. Due to constantly changing global financial markets, the exchange rates fluctuate frequently, even within the same day. Understanding the fundamental aspects of airport currency exchange rates helps you make an informed decision when exchanging currency.

Also Read: If you are coming back to India after your International travel and left with foreign currency, then check this blog on How to Exchange Foreign Currency for Indian Rupee? 

List of International Airports offering Currency Exchange

Here’s a list of some International Airports known for offering currency exchange services. 

Name of the Airport Providers
London Heathrow Airport (LHR), United KingdomTravelex, Moneycorp, ICE Currency Services 
Singapore Changi Aiport (SIN) , SingaporeTravelex, RHB Bank, Money Changer Counters 
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York, USATravelex, ICE Currency Services, Currency Exchange International 
Sydney Airport (SYD), AustraliaTravelex, American Express Currency Exchange
Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT), JapanTravelex

Many of these airports charge 10-12% more than the total value of the amount you want to exchange. They charge extra fees to make profits. To save yourself from paying extra, it is important to strategise your finances when exchanging currency. 

Factors Influencing Airport Exchange Rates

Ever wondered why airports are charging 10-12% higher than the existing rates as per the market standards? It’s because to be present with a physical location at the airport itself includes paying extremely high rent. Plus, there are different kinds of costs like salaries and other operating expenses. All these costs are passed down to the consumers via higher exchange fees and rates. 

This is one of the factors that influence the airport currency exchange rates. Let’s dive and seek into other factors affecting the exchange rates at airports- 


Inflation refers to the rise in prices in an economy. Higher inflation in a country can lead to a decrease in the value of its currency. It’s because the purchasing power of the country experiencing higher inflation diminishes. This results in a weaker exchange rate. 

Travellers exchanging currency may receive fewer units of foreign currency due to this devaluation. 

Central banks use monetary policy tools like adjusting the interest rates to manage inflation. Controlling inflation helps stabilise currency values and exchange rates. 

Political Stability

Political Stability or instability affects the investor’s confidence and the value of a country’s currency. Stable political conditions often attract investments and build confidence in the nation’s economy. This positively impacts its currency value. 

Conversely, instability in the country or political unrest can lead to a decrease in currency value and weaken exchange rates. 

Central banks monitor political stability and adjust monetary policies to mitigate negative impacts on currency values, maintaining stable exchange rates. 

Economic Recession 

During an economic recession, a country’s currency might weaken due to reduced consumer spending and lower economic growth. This decline in economic performance can result in less favourable exchange rates at airports. 

The RBI’s policies stimulate economic growth during recessions, aiming to stabilise currency values and exchange rates. 

Interest Rates 

Central Banks’ decisions regarding interest rates have a significant impact on currency value. Higher interest rates can attract foreign investments, increasing demand for the currency and strengthening the value of the currency. Lower interest rates have the opposite effect, leading to a weaker currency and less favourable exchange rates. 

Government Intervention

Government interventions and policies, such as currency controls, and capital flow restrictions can influence currency exchange rates. For example, central banks might intervene to stabilise or manipulate their currency’s value, affecting the rates offered at airports.  

Central banks conduct interventions, like buying or selling currency reserves to influence currency values and maintain favourable exchange rates. 

Also Read: Learn all about making informed financial decisions by checking our blog on Navigating Currency Exchange Risks: What Every Study Abroad Student Should Know

Pros and Cons of Exchanging Currency at Airports 


  • One of the great advantages of exchanging currencies at airports is that the services are readily available for travellers, offering convenience and easy accessibility. 
  • Many airport currency exchange services operate 24/7, accommodating travellers arriving or departing at any time. 
  • For last-minute currency exchange, airports provide an option to obtain local currency quickly. 


  • Airport currency exchange rates are less favourable compared to the rates offered via other means like banks, credit cards, or ATMs. You get a lesser amount of currency in hand as you end up paying more to cover your operating costs. 
  • Airports may have limited competition among currency exchange providers, leading to less competitive rates and fewer options for travellers to compare and choose the best rates. 
  • Exchange rate fluctuations are another disadvantage. At airports, exchange rates fluctuate frequently, and travellers might not always get the most favourable rates. 
  • Some airport currency exchange services may have minimum exchange amounts, forcing you to exchange more money than required. This leads to potential wastage of money. 

Overcoming Higher Airport Currency Exchange Rates 

By now, we have clearly understood that currency exchange rates at the airport are overpriced and have other disadvantages too. 

People are often confused about whether to exchange currency at home or abroad. It is advisable to exchange in your home country as RBI allows you to exchange currency 60 days before your trip. Make sure to exchange your currencies well in advance to avoid paying extra charges at the airport for last-minute currency exchange. 

To help you mitigate the cons of airport currency exchange rates, we at Fly Finance are here to save your pockets. Here’s why you can count on us and overcome paying higher fees at airports for currency exchange- 

  • We are cost-effective and offer you real-time exchange rates that are cheaper than banks. 
  • Avail safe and secured payments with globally licensed partners. 
  • We are transparent- Get our forex services at zero convenience fees with no hidden charges.  

FAQs on Airport Currency Exchange Rate

Is currency exchange at the airport costly?

Yes, currency exchange rates at airports are 10-12% higher in comparison to the other means available in the market. This is because they come up with extra charges to cover their operating costs, salaries, and rent of the physical space. 

How can I avoid currency conversion fees?

To avoid currency conversion fees, you can acquire a no-foreign transaction-fee credit card and debit card. You can also avoid conversion fees by paying in local currency for the purchases made. 

What is the cheapest way to exchange currency in India?

The cheapest way to exchange currency in India is through online platforms like Fly Finance. The exchange rates are the lowest without any hidden charges. 

Does the bank charge a fee to convert currency?

Yes, banks typically charge extra fees or commissions to convert currency. 

Is It Cheaper to Exchange Money at the Airport or Forex Card?

Airport currency exchange rates come with extra fees. So it is better to take advantage of international travel cards or credit cards to avoid higher exchange rates. 

This was all about airport currency exchange rates. It is recommended to have a fair understanding of currency exchange rates at airports, banks, ATMs and via other means so that you can exchange your currency without paying extra. 

For straightforward advice on study abroad finances, call 1800572126. Discover seamless forex services with Fly Finance. Get currencies at great exchange rates. 

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About Shubhika Garg

Hey there! I'm Shubhika- a proud graduate in English Literature and Language from Delhi University. My journey as a content writer transitioned from online teacher into the world of words. Stepping into the domain of blogs and articles, I discovered my passion for writing growing deeper and stronger. Having said that, I have experience of writing for diverse industries in automobile, technology, ed-tech, finance and mental-health; crafting details to help you find the solution to what you are looking for. Join me as I invite you all explore and learn together.

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