Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How App'd: XE Currency App

When traveling abroad it's prudent to know how much your dollar is worth. The exchange rate fluctuates daily and depending on where you're headed, your crisp little green friend could be gaining or losing value. The XE Currency app is just the perfect tool to help you figure out exactly what's going on if you are not a banker, financial analyst or other persons well versed in the exchange rate.

Since the app -- like the basic site -- is free, only mid-market rates are shown. Mid-market rates aren't "buy or sell" rates. Instead, they fall somewhere in between; an approximation of sorts. Depending on where you do your exchange the rate can be higher or lower than mid-market figures. XE Currency app users can access more than 180 currencies and monitor 10 at any given time (great if you're country hopping). With a flick of the wrist rates are updated. The app is both web based and available for offline use so you can calculate rates in the middle of nowhere.

No matter what you do or which exchange calculation site or app you use, be sure to shop around for the best rates. Exchange agencies such as Travelex don't always offer the best rates. Sometimes it's best to go to a bank (shop around here too), withdraw money from an ATM when you reach your destination or just use a debit or credit card. While your bank or credit card company may charge a fee between 1-3% for exchanging the funds, it's safer than carrying wads of cash around.

Available for: iPhone, iPod Touch and Blackberry
Cost: Free
Pro: Have access to a reliable conversion tool (automatic conversion online; manual conversion offline).
Con: The rates shown are an approximation; it can go either way.

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