Currency Converter Calculators

Posted by Allison on 22 January 2010, 14:08

What Type Of Currency Converter Calculator Should You Be Using?

If you have never used a currency converter calculator before you might be wondering why you would want to use one.  In truth there are plenty of reasons why you should use one – and there are also different types of calculators you could be using.  So let’s take a look at the different types of currency converter calculator that are available.

Getting the latest rates for the currency markets

This is ideal if you are heading off on holiday and you want to know how many US dollars, Swiss francs or Euros you can get for your pounds.  Most good currency converters will let you convert your pounds into any one of a hundred or more foreign currencies.

A good example is the XE website at  This has a currency converter calculator on the home page and with a few clicks of the mouse you can have an up to date currency conversion rate for your chosen currencies.

The big benefit of using this site is that it uses live rates.  Some websites are twenty minutes or more out of synch, and some only use one conversion rate per day, so you won’t get as good a figure from sites like this.  If you need a conversion rate because you are buying something online you may wish to use a site that is as up to date as XE is, so you know exactly where you stand.

Getting older currency rates

There might be times when you need to know the exchange rates which were in place at some point in the past.  This could be yesterday, last week, last month or even last year.

If you find yourself in this situation you just need to find a currency converter calculator that has access to all the old rates.  A good one can be found on the FX Top website at

All you need to do in this situation is to enter the two currencies you want to convert from and to, and then select the date period you want to know the exchange rates for.  This could be a single date, in which case you would need to enter the start and end dates as the same, or it could be a particular period in time.  So you could request the exchange rates that were in force from 1st January 2007 to 2nd March 2007, for example.

Using the more versatile currency converter calculator to calculate different rates

The current rates and historical rates aren’t the only pieces of information you can find on a currency converter calculator though.  You can also use calculators online that give you other options.

One of the best examples here is the calculator offered by Oanda.  You can find this at their website, at  Their calculator asks you to choose which rate you want to use, and there are a number of different options you have here.

You might wonder why some sites give you options and other ones don’t.  If you take a look at the Oanda site you will see that the default option is the Interbank rates option.  This is what you will find on many other websites that give you exchange rates for each currency pairing.

But there are other rates that are relevant if you want to find out what your local bank or bureau de change is going to change up your money for you.  In a sense, your Interbank rate tells you what one currency is worth compared to another one.  But when it comes to getting your holiday money that isn’t the rate you will pay.

If you buy something on a credit card in a foreign currency you will need to use the typical credit card rate to get an accurate idea of what you will pay.  You can also find out what your bank might charge you, and finally you can use any one of the other options given depending on what percentage rate might be in force.

As you can see this particular currency converter calculator is more versatile, provided you know how to use it properly.

In conclusion

The best thing about figuring out exchange rates between currencies is that it is easy to do online.  There are plenty of currency converter calculators around so you should easily be able to find one that appeals to you and is easy to use.

And as you can see, you may not always need to use the same one.  So make sure you know what you need it for before you start using the currency converter calculator of your choice.



  1. I must admit I never used currency converters for years because I just didn’t have any use for them. Even if I went on holiday abroad I would just change up my money at the Post Office or somewhere similar and that was that.

    But using a calculator like this has really opened my eyes to how different the conversion rates can be. I have got my favourite sites but it’s good to know about new ones that I didn’t know about before as well. No matter what you want to know a conversion rate for, there is no doubt that there are plenty of good converters online.

    — Allison · Jan 28, 02:13 PM · #

  2. I shall have to admit to being naïve here now, because until I read this I always thought that currency converters only converted amounts that were relevant now. I didn’t realise you could get them to convert amounts in the past as well.

    I guess there are some people who probably use them on a daily basis for their work or something, but I don’t have a lot of call for them generally. I would probably only use them when I want to go abroad and see how far my money would go. What about other people?

    — Ben · Feb 23, 05:57 PM · #

  3. Wow – who knew currency converters packed such a lot into them? The two comments above actually made me chuckle because I was thinking the exact same thing before reading this. I never had any real need to use them – or at least I didn’t think I did. I always exchanged my holiday cash at the nearest place available – it had nothing to do with exchange rates. The amount of money I must have lost out on over the years because I didn’t shop around!

    Anyway I’m glad I read it and like the two people who left comments here before me I am glad I found out how good they can actually be. I have been trying them out and I’ll definitely use them before this year’s hols!

    — JamieK · Mar 29, 01:17 PM · #

  4. It is good to have a currency converter ready to use if I ever need it. But personally I don’t think I will actually use one very often. I tend to be a bit lazy and just go to the nearest place to change up my money when I go on holiday. I never think about finding out which place would be the cheapest.

    It’s silly really I suppose, especially as it looks like finding it online would be the best way to go. Maybe next time I go abroad I can look for a currency converter so I can find a cheaper currency conversion that puts me quids in. I’ll have to remember it’s there though, otherwise I will never use it!

    — Kate · Mar 31, 11:58 AM · #

  5. I constantly use a currency calculator because I do have investments that require me to know how much a certain currency might be worth against another. I am only what you would call a part time investor in the Forex markets, but I have had some success in the field – probably more than some other people may have had in the past.

    I have used a few different calculators over time, and while I find historical calculators better for obvious reasons, I also use up to date ones as well. The more accurate and recent the information is, the better it is in my book. I also find it is important to have more than one ‘favourite’, in case the first one should be unavailable for some reason.

    — CShort · Jul 28, 09:10 PM · #