Where is the best place to buy US dollars?

We compare the US dollar rates from some of the UK's leading currency suppliers to show you the best deals

The US dollar makes up nearly 60% of the global currency reserves held in central banks around the world and it is by far the most traded currency in the world, so it might come as no surprise that dollars are widely available in the UK and competition among currency suppliers is high.

The downside to plenty of competition means it can be hard to find the best deals on offer. Walk past any high street bureau de change and you'll see signs advertising 'no fees' and '0% commission', but what really matters is the exchange rate.

The good news is: I've done the hard work for you! By comparing the US dollar rates available from a wide variety of suppliers I show you who is offering the best deals after all fees have been factored in. If you want to cut to the chase you can skip to the results. Otherwise, I'll begin with some tips on how to maximise your holiday spending money if you're planning a trip to the USA.

Buying US dollars online versus the high street

You'll always get the best deal by buying your US dollars online. It's cheaper for currency suppliers to sell online because they don't have to rent an expensive high street store. Consequently, they can afford to offer better exchange rates which means more currency for you.

What you might not know is: many high street currency suppliers offer two different US dollar rates; an online rate that's available on their website, and an in-store rate that you'll get if you walk in off the street. The in-store rate is always worse that the online rate for the reason mention above. However, you can still get the online rate by reserving your currency on the supplier's website and collecting it in-store.

You'll usually need to order 24 hours in advance so the supplier can prepare your order, although some Post Office stores will allow you to collect within 4 hours of reserving online so it's always best to check on the supplier's website beforehand.

Don't use your bank card in the USA

Banks have very poor exchange rates and you won't know what rate you're going to get until you go to pay. This applies to withdrawing dollars from an ATM as well. Your bank may advertise the card as being free to use in the USA, but you can't control any fees the ATM operator will add on. If you don't want the hassle of checking your bank card fees and exchange rates, you can take cash instead.

In the USA, always pay in dollars

If you pay by card and you're asked whether you want to pay in pounds or dollars, always choose dollars. If you choose to pay in pounds, the merchant can set their own exchange rate to convert your pounds into dollars at the point of sale at the rate will not be in your favour!

The best places to buy US dollars in the UK

We compared the US dollar exchange rates from 17 of the UK's leading currency suppliers including supermarkets, banks and high street bureau de change. The data was taken on the same day and refers to the suppliers' online rates for exchanging £1000 into US dollars and factoring in all commission and delivery charges.

This list is changing all the time; if you want to see today's rates check out our live US dollar exchange rate comparisons.

Currency SupplierUS dollar rate£1000 buys (after fees)
Covent Garden FX1.2040$1204
NM Money1.1970$1197
The Currency Club1.1960$1196
Tesco Bank1.1955$1195.50
Currency Online Group1.1953$1195.30
John Lewis1.1948$1194.80
Travel FX1.1941$1194.10
Sainsbury's Bank1.1891$1189.10
Manor FX1.1871$1187.10
The Post Office1.1851$1185.10
Rapid Travel Money*1.1949$1184.16
Travel Money Club*1.2010$1183.05

Data taken from the respective suppliers' websites at 15:00 on 14 June 2022. *Currency amounts reduced to account for applicable charges.

Dan Morley

Dan is the Technical Director of Compare Holiday Money.

Published on 26 April 2016
Usd, Us Dollars, Usa, America

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