Currency Exchange Rates Explained

We know that exchanging currency can, at times, be confusing. Dealing with money can be complicated at the best of times, but in the rush to get away, or while you are abroad, changing your travel money can be tricky. This is especially true as there are a number of unfamiliar terms and phrases connected with the process. As the world’s foreign exchange specialist, we are helping consumers to make things as simple as possible by developing this guide. 

We have designed this guide to:


  • cut through the confusion; 
  • make sure you get the best value for your travel money; and 
  • make changing your money one less thing to worry about the next time you head abroad. 



About Currency Exchange Rates 

Here is a guide to what to look out for. 

Sell rate – this is the rate at which we sell you foreign currency in exchange for local currency. For example, if you were heading to China, you would exchange your currency for Chinese yuan at the sell rate. 

Buy rate – this is the rate at which we buy foreign currency back from travellers to exchange into local currency. For example, if you were returning from America, we would exchange your US dollars back into Malaysian ringgits at the buy rate. 

Spot rate – This is known more formally as the ‘interbank’ rate. It is the rate banks or large financial institutions charge each other when trading significant amounts of foreign currency. In the business, this is sometimes referred to as a ‘spot rate’. It is not the tourist rate and you cannot buy currency at this rate, as you are buying relatively small amounts of foreign currency. In everyday life it is the same as the difference between wholesale and retail prices. The rates shown in financial newspapers and in broadcast media are usually the interbank rates. 

Spread – This is the difference between the buy and sell rates offered by a foreign exchange provider such as us.

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