The Best Places to Buy British Pounds in the USA
Online, at a bank, at a currency exchange or at the airport
British pound travel money card
Travel money cards are a safe and convenient way to spend in pound sterling (GBP) - and if you pick the right one they could help you save on currency conversion, too. Top up your card balance in dollars and convert those dollars to pounds to spend in stores and restaurants, or withdraw cash from ATMs when you need it. Easy.
Wise debit card
The Wise travel money card is likely to get you a better pound exchange rate and lower fees compared to your bank. Spending on the card will use the local currency if you have it in your Wise account - no matter where in the world you are. And if not, the card can simply auto-convert your money at the real rate, for a small fee.
You can also withdraw pounds from an ATM whenever you need them - giving you the safety of spending with a card, and the convenience of cash.
It’s free to open a Wise account, with a one time fee of 9 USD for the Wise debit card. Converting USD to GBP costs just 0.43% with Wise - making this by far one of the cheapest ways to get your hands on travel money for the UK.
Buy British pounds online
Often this is the best way to buy British pounds (GBP). It is often faster and cheaper buy your British pounds online. The pound to dollar exchange rate is better online and give you more pound sterling for your USD. You can reserve your order, pick it up in a store or even have it delivered to your door.
Currency Exchange International (CXI)
Currency Exchange International specializes in providing foreign currency exchange at great rates with superior customer service. CXI owns and operates more than 30 branch locations across the United States and offers online foreign currency ordering through its website.
Buying foreign currency online for home delivery is easy with CXI. Select from more than 90 foreign currencies and receive it as soon as next day. Available in most areas.
Banks do offer a wide range of currencies that you can buy but make sure you spend your foreign currency overseas because you might not be able to convert it back to dollars when you get back home.
Currency exchange services offered by the bank might not offer the British pound to US dollar best rates but they are convenient, particularly if you are an existing customer.
When you buy pound sterling from the bank you can pay with credit card, cash or from one of your bank accounts.
Foreign Currency Exchange
Money changers can be the cheapest way to buy British Pounds. The problem is, it can be a hard to find them outside of the city and they regularly run out of less common currencies.
Often the exchange rates are on a board facing the front of the shop, so finding the USD to GBP rate is easy. Ask what fees they charge for the foreign exchange and if it cost more to pay with credit cards.
- The exchange rates are better in major cities. So it can be worth going there if you're exchanging more than $2,000
- Always ask for a better exchange rate. We've found you can often get a better deal just by asking, particularly if you're buying more than $1000
Yes, you can buy pounds at the airport. But that doesn't mean you should. While it's convenient, it's also very expensive. You will receive less GBP for your USD at the airport.
Most airport currency exchange services accept cash and credit cards.
- Ordering it online and picking it up at the airport is much cheaper than buying it in person
- If you've run out of time before your trip, it's might be better to buy pounds when you get to the United Kingdom, or use your cards instead
Want to find the best time to buy?
Simply use our free email alerts to track the USD to GBP rate daily. Or set the GBP rate you want and we'll email you when it's time to buy your British pounds.