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Exchanging Unused Soft Currencies

Exchanging Unused Soft Currencies

Old Sep 22, 19, 12:20 am
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Exchanging Unused Soft Currencies

I know the correct answer is to get rid of them before you leave, but that isn't always practical of even possible.

Do banks exchange less common currencies as a general rule? Schwab is my primary bank, but they don't have any branches in Korea (to my knowledge). I've got three currencies in particular that I haven't been able to exchange (Armenia, Kazakhstan and Brunei). The Brunei dollars should exchange in Singapore at the airport currency exchange desk, and I'm planning to take a trip there anyway this winter. However, Armenia and Kazakhstan are far less likely. Combined, it is about $150 USD. Nothing to lose sleep over, but it would be nice to change them into something useful.

Any ideas? Do any banks work with customers to 'buy back' currencies, even at not-so-great exchange rates?

Thanks
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Old Sep 22, 19, 12:24 am
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I wish I would have exchanged all the extra Argentine Pesos I had left over from a decade ago. I always thought Iíd go back in the next year or two. $150-200 back then.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 11:10 am
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BOA has always taken them back. We have started using all currency to settle hotel bill before going to the airport. That's helped minimize needing to exchange back to USD.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 11:14 am
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I just bought dinner for a friend in New Zealand. I sent her with about $100 in NZD. She had no idea how much it was, so I had a fun, Secret Santa type moment. I have no plans to go back to NZ in the near future, and really enjoyed treating her to dinner. She was so surprised!

I do have a bunch of coins and bills in various nooks and crannies that are unlikely to ever be redeemed. I used to try to keep them in baggies labeled with their country, but somehow most of them got mingled up and they are very hard to sort out. If there's a lion on the coin, or something like that, I know it's an African country. Most, unfortunately, are some mans head in profile. If I know someone going the country, I'll pass them along. If I remember, I'll bring them to the airport and put them in the UNICEF box. My motto is: If it's enough to be worth exchanging, do it before you leave the country. That effort threshold is about $20 for me, or more. Otherwise, don't worry about it.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 12:44 pm
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Chungking mansions in Hong Kong is just about the best place Iíve seen to exchange lesser used currencies for decent rates. Malls and fx shops in Dubai are also good bets.

obviously not helpful if youíre not heading to one of those places, but thatís the best Iíve found.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 1:48 pm
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If no place will take it or the amount is small enough to not warrant the hassle, you can always sell it on eBay for like a 20% loss.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Schweden View Post
If no place will take it or the amount is small enough to not warrant the hassle, you can always sell it on eBay for like a 20% loss.
Or go to the country- or region-specific section in FT and ask people here if theyíre willing to exchange at a fair rate (assuming you trust the person)
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Old Sep 26, 19, 8:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Schweden View Post
If no place will take it or the amount is small enough to not warrant the hassle, you can always sell it on eBay for like a 20% loss.
Just looked on ebay and someone is trying to sell a current 1,000 Armenian dram note (worth a little over $2 US) for $9 + $21 shipping. Wow.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 8:17 pm
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Originally Posted by etch5895 View Post
Just looked on ebay and someone is trying to sell a current 1,000 Armenian dram note (worth a little over $2 US) for $9 + $21 shipping. Wow.
As P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute."
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Old Sep 30, 19, 5:13 am
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I've got a Jason Bourne style drawer with envelopes of currencies I've brought home. I'm never that bothered as it's rarely a large sum. It means that if I go again, I've got some starter money, if a friend/colleague goes I either give them the money or sell them it (if it's a larger sum).
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Old Sep 30, 19, 6:00 am
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Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego View Post
If there's a lion on the coin, or something like that, I know it's an African country.
I would be careful with that assumption: lions are fairly common heraldic feature also elsewhere. For example, the national side of Finnish 1-50 cent eurocoins have a lion from the Finnish coat of arms and Czech koruna coinage feature the lion from the Czech coat of arms.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 7:22 am
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I always end up getting stuck with very low denomination coins and notes. As a teacher, I often end up using them in classes, one way or another.

Anything large gets changed/used before I leave the country.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 8:07 am
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You can also donate the currency to UNICEF's "Change for Good" program. I've done that with a bunch of coins I had from around the world that I didn't want to move overseas with us.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 10:37 am
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My best trick for left over foreign currency is that I apply it to the hotel bill before I head out to the airport (provided I have covered my airport transportation in some way). Hotels cannot deny the change either - so I dump everything and the rest of the hotel payment still goes to the credit card. Trick doesn't work when hotel is booked on pints. Also, not completely happy doing this when I have an hotel affinity card - e.g. Hilton credit card that generates about 6% back but then it depends upon how much money I have left - I would rather not have foreign currency sitting in a drawer.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 12:00 pm
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In November 2016, upon my return from a trip to India, I had approx. $100 worth of Indian rupees left. The next day the govt there changed the currency and all I could do was let my little grand kids play with it. The next trip was to Cuba, and the money I had left was spent on buying rum shots and tipping the help. Felt good!
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