If you're traveling to the U.S. and plan on arriving in Los Angeles (LA) at LAX airport, you'll likely need U.S. currency for cash purchases, such as a coffee or bottle of water. If you're traveling abroad from the U.S, you may want to have foreign currency on hand to pay for taxis and small purchases.

Whether you plan on exchanging currency at the airport, an ATM, or a local foreign currency provider, we've outlined several options located in Los Angeles.

Best Places To Exchange Currency In Los Angeles

Los Angeles hosted more than 50 million visitors during 2018. LA saw record numbers of visitors from China with 1.2 million and 1.8 million people from Mexico. International tourists represented more than 20% of total overnight visitors and generated over $6.5 billion in spending.

Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, a credit card is usually the best option for many purchases–especially larger ones, such as your hotel. More and more banks are offering credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, so if you travel frequently, it’s a good idea to get one. However, some cards impose a 2% to 3% fee on international transactions, which can add to the overall cost of your trip. Please check the fee listings with your financial services provider or your credit card company.

The Airport

You won’t get the best exchange rates at LAX–or any other airport, for that matter. However, if you only need a small amount of cash in your pocket to get your trip started, the convenience may be worth it. If you want a larger amount, an ATM or one of the currency exchange stores located in town will likely give you a better deal. To find out the current exchange rate for your currency, use an online currency converter. 

ICE Currency Exchange operates 13 locations within the LAX airport:

Terminal 2

  • Departures: Hours: Monday – Sunday, 5:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. 
  • Arrivals: Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11:15 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Terminal 3

  • Currently closed

Terminal 4

  • Departures: Hours: Monday – Sunday, 5:45 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Terminal 5

  • Departures: Hours: Monday – Sunday, 5:30 a.m. to 11:15 p.m.
  • Arrivals: Hours: Monday – Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Terminal 6

  • Departures: Hours: Monday – Sunday, 5:15 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.
  • Arrivals: Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.

Terminal 7

  • Departures: Hours: Monday – Sunday, 5:15 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.

Tom Bradley International

  • Departures, South Entrance: Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 12:15 a.m.
  • Departures, North Entrance: Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 12:15 a.m.
  • Departures, Hall: Hours: 7:45 a.m. to 11:15 p.m.
  • Arrivals: Hours: 6:15 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.  

For more information, call 310-646-0553.

ATMs

Using an ATM is one of the easiest and cheapest methods to get cash while traveling abroad. All international withdrawals via an ATM typically provide a better exchange rate than you would at a currency exchange store or airport kiosk. If your home bank has an agreement with a U.S. bank, you can avoid paying any extra fees (ask your bank for policy details). If you will be charged a per-transaction fee, it’s better to take one or two larger withdrawals, instead of several smaller ones.

Within LAX, Bank of America operates an ATM in the arrival level of Terminal 7. Other ATMs that are close to the airport include:

  • Citibank: 8800 South Sepulveda Blvd. (temporarily closed)
  • Wells Fargo Bank: 8814 S Sepulveda Blvd.
  • Chase Bank: 8813 South Sepulveda Blvd.
  • Cardtronics: 8601 South Sepulveda Blvd.

As in any large city, you can find a wide variety of ATMs throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area at banks, shopping centers, and near tourist attractions. If you need help finding an ATM, check with your bank to see if it offers an ATM locator app, or search your smart phone’s app store. You can also check your bank's website on your smartphone.

Currency Exchange Stores

In addition to the ICE Currency Exchange stores located inside the airport, you can find many other stores throughout Los Angeles, offering a range of services aimed at travelers entering the country and U.S. travelers headed overseas. While the exchange rate you’ll get at a bank is generally fixed, meaning it doesn’t fluctuate throughout the day, other currency exchange stores may change rates with the market. Call ahead to find out rates, but keep in mind the rate you are told over the phone and the rate you might receive could be different since rates are periodically updated.

Some of the currency exchange stores in Los Angeles include:

Bretton Woods

  • 11659 San Vicente Blvd., (310) 447-6234

Currency Exchange International

  • Citadel Outlets, 100 Citadel Dr., (323) 721-2500
  • Santa Monica Place, 395 Santa Monica Place, Level 2, (310) 393-7444  

Foreign Currency Express

  • 350 S Figueroa St. #134, (213) 624-3693

LA Currency

  • 7095 Hollywood Blvd. #204, (323) 878-0555
  • 6582 Van Nuys Blvd., (818) 785-0999
  • 340A North Camden Drive, Beverly Hills (310) 859-8888
  • 506 W Broadway, Glendale (818) 551-9555
  • 406 W 6 Street Unit A, Los Angeles (213) 228-0000

Travelex

  • 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd (in Santa Monica), (818) 340-2500 (temporarily closed)
  • 600 N Brand Blvd, (in Glendale), (818) 242-6884 (temporarily closed)

World Banknotes Exchange

  • 520 S Grand Ave., (213) 446-3380

The Bottom Line

Any time you travel overseas–for business or pleasure–you’ll need a way to pay for goods and services in the local currency. 

When you do need to exchange money, be sure to ask how much money you’ll get in exchange for the amount you’re handing over. Just because a place advertises no commissions or no fees, doesn’t mean you’ll get a good rate–and it doesn’t mean there won’t be “hidden” charges, either. Find out what you’re getting before you give the store your money.

A currency converting app can help you figure out how much you should be getting. Enter the type and amount of currency you want to exchange, and the app calculates how much of the “new” currency you can buy at today’s rates.