Exchange rate markup calculator

Use our exchange rate markup calculator to find out how much your bank charges your business for exchanging currencies. The calculator is aimed to help estimate the hidden costs paid by your business and to get low FX rates.

How to use the exchange rate markup calculator?

To use the calculator, log in to your business bank account and check what rates you get if you plan to BUY and to SELL the same foreign currency. Copy them to the calculator. The calculator is universal for all currencies.

Banks typically have a foreign exchange markup of 1-2% or more from the ‘real rate’ (often known as the mid-market or the interbank rate). This margin is a convenient-hidden fee and many businesses don’t know that alternatives exist. Banks are able to get the mid-market rate because they are buying and selling currencies in large quantities from other financial institutions. It is a similar case to a distributor buying a truckload of laptops at wholesale prices and selling them to individuals at retail prices.

Calculation example

My home currency is EUR and my business is receiving payments from the US. So I want to see how much my bank charges me for exchanging USD to EUR. After logging in to my business account and going to the currency exchange page, this is what I do:

  1. Check the rate if you were to sell USD (buy EUR). The bank would buy my USD at the rate of 1.0785 (1 EUR = 1.0785 USD). Enter 1.0785 to line #1: Bank buys (higher rate).
  2. Check the rate if you were to buy USD (sell EUR). The bank would sell me USD at the rate of 1.0320 (1 EUR = 1.0320 USD). Enter 1.0320 to line #2: Bank sells (lower rate).
  3. Enter the monthly (let’s say it’s €400 000) to line #3: Amount.
  4. The calculator will estimate your bank’s FX margin.

What is a good and a bad currency exchange margin?

It is subjective, but here are our estimates. A good currency exchange margin will be below 0.5% for major currency pairs and will decrease with higher volumes. A bad currency exchange margin is above 2% for major pairs and the higher it is, the worse.

Where can I find payment providers with good FX rates?

Check out our list of International money transfer companies in Europe.

How does it work?

The most straightforward way is simply opening an account with one of the international money transfer companies. They are typically Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), who have the ability to issue payment accounts (IBANs). It is just like your normal bank account – you can keep funds there, exchange currencies and manage the account. The only difference is that they have attractive exchange rates. The second way is to use an intermediary for exchanging funds. They are usually Payment Institutions (PIs), who can’t issue IBANs. You send the funds to their account, they exchange it and send it to the end recipient.

What is the ‘real rate’?

The objective rate is the mid-market rate, often called the interbank rate or the real rate. It is the mid-point between the buy and the sell price of a particular currency. It is also the rate at which banks buy and sell foreign currencies. This is the objective foreign exchange rate – hence, the ‘real rate’.

Banks often take the European Central Bank (ECB) rate as the reference real rate. However, take note that it is only updated once every business day – around 16:00 CET.

Where can I check live real exchange rates?

For precise live rates, you can check OANDA or any other major FX data provider. ECB reference rates can be found here.

What to do if your bank only gives you one rate (BUY or SELL)?

For example, this could happen if you are placing a foreign exchange order via phone. In this case, take that rate and compare it to the mid-market rate. You can find the approximate rate using the widget below. For precise live rates, you can use Oanda or another FX data provider. Then use the formula: Exchange rate markup % = (Your bank’s rate – Mid-market rate) / Mid-market rate * 100%.


How long do payments take?

Typical international transfers via the SWIFT network take 1-5 business days. Since these payments with dedicated international money transfer companies utilize local payment systems, most of them take no longer than 1 business day to reach the recipient.

Where does a company have to be registered to be onboarded?

Business clients can be onboarded from global jurisdictions, except for sanctioned countries.

How can I start and get lower exchange rates?

Fill out the “Exchange rate markup” calculator on this page or Contact us and tell us about your case.