If you travel regularly, you’re probably already aware that exchanging your money at the airport can be horrendously expensive. It is a well-established fact that airport rates can be loaded with margins of upto 12%. In other words, if you were to buy foreign exchange of say Rs. 1 Lac (approx. 2000 USD), you could have to shell out upto Rs. 12,000 more if you were to use an airport foreign exchange counter instead of using another currency exchange in Delhi.
To our surprise, in a recent survey that we conducted, a significantly large number of people considered exchanging their money at the airport. Most people were unaware of the high margins applied at the airport and some knew that higher margins were applied but weren’t sure exactly how high the airport margins were. Suffice it to say that after learning the truth, nobody wanted to use to go back to the airport counters for a large transaction.
Recently, one of our staff members was flying out of the Delhi International airport and had a chance to take this picture that accurately shows the disparity between the rates at the airport forex counters and another money exchange in Delhi. For reference, we’ve uploaded a screenshot of BookMyForex.com’s live rate card that was taken around the same time when this picture was shot.
When comparing the rates in the picture with the rates in the screenshot you can see that the US Dollar was being sold at approximately Rs 58.15, which is Rs. 3.65 more per dollar at the airport (a margin of 6.6%). Similarly, the Pound was being at Rs. 88.35, which is Rs. 5.45 more per pound (margin of 6.5%). Similar mark ups apply to all other currencies. It should bears mention that this picture and the screenshot was shot late at night, after market hours. The difference in rates would most likely have been even higher if this picture was shot during market hours.