Who Buys Foreign Currency?

by Lisa Gaytan-Berg ; Updated July 27, 2017
Foreign currency is purchased by many different buyers.

Years ago, foreign currency was often difficult to find, purchase and use. The most common buyers were always day traders. Now, however, companies and individuals can purchase foreign currency all for different reasons.

World Travelers

When you decide to plan an international holiday, one of the most important details is purchasing foreign currency. Though credit and some debit cards are equipped to work in foreign countries, travelers find it is always wise to purchase some foreign currency before the trip to save money on the exchange rates and ensure they are able to purchase goods and services while overseas.

Financial Institutions

Large banks or other financial institutions purchase foreign currency. All financial institutions order currency from different private companies that have worldwide currencies, as most financial institutions keep very little foreign money on hand. If you have foreign currency leftover from a trip, take it to a bank, as often it is more economical for the bank to purchase from its customers than to order in currency from other sources.

Day Traders

Day traders in foreign currency still exist and in fact, more average citizens have joined the currency trading industry to try their hand at making money. Traders purchase foreign currency (e.g. Japanese yen) at a fluctuating rate with another currency (e.g. U.S. dollar), anticipating the rise and fall of one particular type of currency over the day or week of trading. The money is purchased from accounts and the process frequently takes place over the Internet.


Coin and foreign currency collectors are still popular today. Many websites are dedicated to dedicated coin and currency collectors who are looking to buy specific currencies in prime and pristine condition.

Private Companies

As international travel has increased, so has the need for currency companies. Private companies have been developed for the sole purpose of selling and buying foreign currency. One of the largest companies is Travelex.

About the Author

Lisa Gaytan-Berg has been a writer since the early 1990s. Based in western Canada, Gaytan-Berg's work has been published in "The Hinton Voice", as well as numerous websites and professional manuals. She specializes in business writing and columns. Gaytan-Berg holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Redeemer University.

Photo Credits

  • Foreign Currency image by Stephanie Mueller from Fotolia.com