5 Best places to exchange currency in Heathrow - 2024

Heathrow handles over 60 million passengers annually, with flights coming and going to and from all corners of the world. If you’re heading off from the UK on holiday, or if you’re about to arrive in the UK via a Heathrow flight, you may be wondering about how to sort your travel money on the way. This guide walks through your options to exchange currency in Heathrow Airport, plus we’ll look at some top travel tips so your money goes further while you’re away from home.

Claire Millard
Ileana Ionescu
Last updated
14 December 2023

No matter where in the world you’re heading, getting a prepaid travel card from a provider like Wise could help you get a better exchange rate, and avoid tricky hidden fees or unexpected charges. Instead of standing in line at a currency exchange desk at the airport, order a prepaid travel card online in advance, add some money in pounds, and get ready to spend and make cash withdrawals in your destination with great exchange rates and no hassle.

Switch the offline currency exchange for a prepaid travel card

Wise cards have a low one time order fee, no minimum balance and no ongoing fees. Your card will be linked to a digital multi-currency account which supports 40+ currencies for holding and exchange, and which can be used to send and receive international payments, too. There’s no charge to spend a currency you hold in your account - and if you don’t have the currency you need, the card will automatically convert for you with the mid-market rate and the lowest possible fee. Easy.

Read here 5 best prepaid cards to use abroad

Go to Wise

Things to consider before exchanging money

If you’re a UK resident flying out of Heathrow for a holiday or business trip - or if you’re about to arrive in Heathrow on your way to the UK - you’ll need to get foreign currency to spend while you’re away from home. Getting travel money shouldn’t be difficult - but it can be unnecessarily expensive if you’re not careful. Here are a few things to consider to make sure you’re not ripped off by high fees or poor exchange rates.

Avoid airport currency exchanges

You won’t have any problem exchanging your currency in Heathrow - and you’ll often be able to exchange on departure if you’re flying from your home country to the UK, too. However, airport currency exchanges can be expensive to use as they have little local competition. In Heathrow as a specific example, there are 10 different exchange desks - but they’re all run by one provider, Travelex, so there’s no incentive to drive down costs.

If you order travel money in advance online or by phone from Travelex at Heathrow or from your local airport currency exchange, you may get a slightly better rate. However, in most cases you’ll be better off making an ATM withdrawal on arrival in the UK or at your destination. ATMs are easy to find at most airports globally, and can keep your costs down, particularly if you have a debit card with low or no foreign transaction fees, like the Wise or Revolut cards.

Check the mid-market rate 

To know whether or not a currency exchange store is offering a fair deal you’ll need to know the mid-market rate for your currency. The mid-market rate is the one banks and currency exchange services get when buying foreign currencies on global exchange markets, but it’s not often passed on to customers. Instead an extra percentage fee is added on top of the mid-market rate, which the bank or exchange service can keep as profit.

The mid-market rate is easy to find on Google. Check out the live rate when you need to convert currency and look for a service which offers this, or as close as possible to it, for the best deal.

Beware of ATM rates

Sometimes an ATM flashes up a message on screen that gives the option to pay for your withdrawal in your home currency rather than the local currency in your destination. That’s a tricky system called dynamic currency conversion (DCC). If you agree to pay in your home currency, the ATM operator sets the rate that applies, rather than your own bank or card network. That will usually include extra fees, meaning you pay more in the end. Avoid DCC by choosing to pay in the local currency every time - or just pick up a travel money card from a provider like Wise or Revolut which can handle your currency conversion for you at the point of payment with no hassle and no hidden fees.

Where to get foreign currency outside the UK

If you’ve already left the UK you’ve still got travel money options. If you have a travel money card from a provider like Wise or Revolut you can use it to make cheap and convenient payments, and to withdraw cash with your linked debit card. This can be the best value option for many travellers - plus it’s secure as you won’t need to carry lots of cash at any one time. Just withdraw money as and when you need to, with low or no fees and great exchange rates.

Aside from travel money cards, if you’ve got pounds in your pocket you can also visit a physical currency exchange store wherever in the world you are. Make sure you have clean, crisp and undamaged notes, and remember that airport and hotel currency exchange rates may not be the best available. Shopping around in town is your best bet if you’re exchanging cash in a physical location.

Best place to exchange currency in Heathrow Airport

Within Heathrow airport, the only currency exchange service you can use is Travelex. That means that the chances are that the rates and fees available aren’t the best, as there’s no competition once you get into the airport itself. If you’re heading to the airport by tube, check out other local and convenient exchange services - we’ve listed one here to look into, as well as where you’ll find exchange services once you’re in the airport itself.

Here are the best places to exchange currency in Heathrow airport.

NameAddressPhone numberGBP - AUD rateGoogle Rating
No1 Currency HeathrowHeathrow Terminals 2 & 3 Underground Station+44 331 630 8824Not available online5 out of 5 stars
TravelexHeathrow Terminal 30345 872 7627

Order online: 

1 GBP = 1.8506 AUD

In store rates may vary

4.9 out of 5 stars
TravelexHeathrow Terminal 40345 872 7627

Order online: 

1 GBP = 1.8506 AUD

In store rates may vary

4.8 out of 5 stars
TravelexHeathrow Terminal 20345 872 7627

Order online: 

1 GBP = 1.8506 AUD

In store rates may vary

4.7 out of 5 stars
TravelexHeathrow Terminal 50345 872 7627

Order online: 

1 GBP = 1.8506 AUD

In store rates may vary

4.7 out of 5 stars
  • Correct at time of writing, 5th December 2023

How we rated the best places to exchange money

In total, Travelex has 10 different exchange services at Heathrow airport - it’s the only option once you’re inside the airport. You’ll find Travelex in Heathrow at the following locations:

  • 2 Travelex branches in Terminal 3, airside departures

  • 1 Travelex branch in Terminal 3, landside arrivals

  • 1 Travelex branch in Terminal 2, landside arrivals

  • 1 Travelex branch in Terminal 4, airside departures

  • 5 Travelex branches in Terminal 5, airside departures

Aside from Travelex, there’s currency exchange in the tube stations which can be used to access the airport. To rate the available options above we’ve used Google reviews - which are dynamic and do change over time. Check the latest opinions before you pick a provider - or get a travel card to avoid needing to exchange at the airport at all.

Factors to consider when choosing an exchange provider in Heathrow Airport

Travelex is the only option for currency exchange within Heathrow airport - it’s safe and licensed, and gets decent enough Google reviews.

However, airport currency exchange isn’t known for great fees and exchange rates - even where the fees aren't obvious they may well just be hidden in the exchange rates they use. You can see the Travelex exchange rate for ordering currency ahead of time online - but the actual rate you get on the day if you try to do a spot exchange without ordering in advance may vary.

Instead of risking it, why not save time and stress by picking a travel money card from a provider which always uses mid-market rate currency conversion with low, transparent fees, like Wise.

Tips for finding the best currency exchange rates in Heathrow Airport

Within the airport you won’t find a lot of variation on rate and price, as all currency exchange is managed by the same company. However, if you’ve got the time to shop around for your travel money, you may find you can get a better overall deal with these tips:

  • Compare providers, looking at both fees and rates online, to make sure you get a fair deal

  • Check the mid-market rate for your currency and look for a provider offering this rate or close to it

  • See if you can get a better rate if you order your currency in advance by phone or online for collection

  • Use the Exiap currency conversion tools to stay updated on current exchange rates

  • Consider online alternatives such as Wise and Revolut, for travel money cards you can use for free or low cost ATM withdrawals in the UK and abroad

How do I exchange currency after a trip?

If you have left over travel money you can exchange it back to pounds when you get home. However, this may end up costing you more in the end. If you use Travelex you can add on a Buy Back Promise service for an extra 4.99 GBP when you buy your travel money, which means they’ll buy back up to 250 GBP of unused travel money using the same rate that you got when you exchanged in the first place. Anything over 250 GBP - or if you choose not to pay this extra fee when you exchange - will be exchanged at the board rate, which may be worse than the rate you got at the time of conversion.

Instead of losing out by switching travel money back to GBP, why not get a travel money card from Wise or Revolut which you can use to spend and make withdrawals when you need them internationally. That way you can just take out what you need, and won’t get stuck with unused travel money and high overall costs.

FAQs - Best places to exchange currency in Heathrow Airport

What is the cheapest way to get foreign currency in Heathrow Airport?

Once you arrive at Heathrow the currency exchange is provided by Travelex. If you want to use the Travelex service you’ll get a better deal if you buy online in advance and collect at the airport. However, getting a travel money card from a service like Wise or Revolut usually works out to be cheaper and more convenient in the end as you can spend and make cash withdrawals with good exchange rates and low or no fees.

Should I exchange money before I travel?

You can exchange money before you travel but you don’t have to. Consider getting a multi-currency account and card from a service like Wise or Revolut, instead. Then you can just add money to your account in pounds from your bank, and make cash withdrawals in your destination when you need to, often with the mid-market rate and low or no fees.

Does it matter where you exchange currency?

Yes. Currency exchange services set their own rates and fees - so which one you pick can make a huge difference to how much you have to spend on your trip. It’s worth investing some time in researching the best options for your needs, including exchanging cash and using a specialist travel money card instead.