The Best Sites For Finding Historical Exchange Rates

Posted by Allison on 10 February 2015, 14:38

What do you do if you want to find out how much your own currency is worth in relation to another world currency? Simple – you find a currency converter online and make the calculation, probably within the space of a few seconds.

But what would you do if you wanted to find out how much a currency was worth compared to another one a few years ago? A standard currency converter only provides up-to-date exchange rates so that wouldn’t be any good. If you want to find out how much the US dollar was worth against the British pound, say, three years ago, you’d need a converter that had historical data loaded into it.

Fortunately there are some websites that offer this kind of data. We’ve listed the three top sites below, all well-known and extremely reliable too. Any one of these could deliver the information you’re looking for.

This is a well-known website that provides information on forex trading as well as enabling you to find out what one currency is worth against another. They have an up-to-date currency converter as well as a historical converter, both of which are easy to use.

When you arrive on the home page you’ll see just three options across the top. The middle one is the currency converter. When you click on this you will be taken into the main currency converter, but there are a number of tabs you can click on to use alternative options. The second one of these is for the historical exchange rates. While this is set up for those who are looking at forex trades, you can still use it to find out what a historical exchange rate was for any other reason.

The default currency is the US dollar but you can change this by clicking on the down arrow and selecting the appropriate option. The most popular currencies are listed at the top, with all others appearing in alphabetical order. You then select which currency you want to see the conversion rate for on the right. The great thing about is you can select up to four currencies at a time. The results will all appear on the graph below.

You can change the dates using the range feature below the currency options too. Just click on the tiny grid next to each date to bring up a calendar. You can then scroll through to find the appropriate choice each time. The other great feature about this historic converter is that you can move your cursor along the line that appears on the graph to see the exchange rate for each individual day. This is useful if you’ve chosen a longer period of time to see the rates for. You only need to type in your information once to see plenty of information on your screen. All in all it’s a great and highly-visual tool to use.

This is another very well-known site many people use online today. Again it is easy to find the historic rate tables – just hover over the tools option on the home page for starters. You’ll see a drop-down menu appear, so move down and click on historical currency rates to be taken to the right page.

You get to choose the currency you want to convert from initially, which will appear as the US dollar by default. The more commonly-searched for currencies will be at the top of the list, with everything else listed alphabetically below. Next, click in the date field to see a calendar pop up. You can now choose the appropriate date to search for. It has to be written as it appears initially, with the full year followed by the month and day, for it to work.

You will then see a list of exchange rates appearing underneath in the form of a currency table. This table contains the rates that were in force for your chosen currency on that particular day. The most familiar ones are usually at the top and then all other currencies appear below that. You will also see the units per currency depending on the one you chose, and the other way around too. So for example, if you wanted to see what the US dollar was valued at against other currencies back in 2002, you would see units per USD in one column. Next to it would be another column of USD per unit results. As such it is very easy to access the information you need.

The only downside to this is if you want to get the conversion on a specific date against one specific currency. You can only get a complete currency table here. You’d then have to scroll down through those results to get to the data you wanted. It’s still very easy to use though so it wouldn’t take long to get to where you want to be.

This is the official Bank of Canada website, and while it may not be the first site you’d think of if you wanted historical currency results, it does have the capacity to deliver what you need. It doesn’t have an exhaustive list of world currencies included, but it does have a comprehensive collection of around 55 of them. You can be certain all the most popular ones are here as well, which is good news. It also goes back 10 years so you have plenty of data here to access if need be.

It’s a good and easy converter to use as well. Firstly you can select an amount to convert if you want to convert something other than a single unit of a particular currency. Once you’ve chosen the relevant number, you need to choose the currencies you wish to convert from and to. As you might expect, the Canadian dollar is the default currency here. However thanks to the easy drop-down arrow it takes mere seconds to select another currency if you wish. You can then do the same for the currency you are converting it into.

You then have to select the dates you want to get information for. This could be anything from one day to a much longer period. The next page will then reveal the information you want once you ask the site to calculate it for you. You will also get the additional information (if relevant for the time period you’re searching for) of the low and high exchange rates during that period of time. It’s quite surprising how different these can be!

The Bank of Canada website is easy to use and you also get a couple of other perks. Firstly you can view or save the information they provide in a number of ways. For example XML, SDMX and CSV files are all possible. In addition you’ll be asked whether you want to see data for specific periods of time, such as for a week, a month or a year. As such these provide you with quick ways to make a difference and get the information you require.


Which historic converter will you choose?

You may well find one of the above converters is better for your needs than another. It all depends on why you want the information in the first place. For example if you want to find out historic rates for several currencies against one particular currency, the website might be the best option. Alternatively for simplicity the website might prove to be a better choice.

Whichever one you choose it’s good to know you always have access to a historical currency converter whenever you need it.



  1. I need exchange rates going back to 1986. Any recommended site?

    — Tom Foster · Oct 12, 11:30 AM · #

  2. Any rates going back before 1990? ideally i need back to 1952

    — nj · Nov 3, 04:36 PM · #

  3. Can you help with an exchange rate for £ sterling to South African Rand in the year 1981?

    — James Craig · Jan 2, 05:57 PM · #

  4. I need the financial times exchange rate for purchasing euros with pounds sterling on 17th November 2008 or close to this date.

    — Jim Aspinall · Jul 22, 06:58 PM · #

  5. I would like to know how much 25 000 french francs in the early 1960s is worth in pounds sterling (either worth now or how much that was in 1960s)
    Thank you

    — Kate · May 9, 10:18 AM · #

  6. Can you show the rates for AUD to pounds over last 5 years please?

    — Alison Farrell · Aug 24, 05:43 PM · #

  7. in 2007 the Financial Times reported houses in England over the past 100 years have doubled in value every 7 years. Have they produced more up to date figures?.

    — CAROLINE PILCHER · Mar 26, 07:40 PM · #

  8. Niara exchange rate to U.S dollars

    — RaphLawrence · May 17, 01:13 PM · #