How to open a money exchange place

Updated April 17, 2017

Exchanging money is an essential part of all foreign travel, and anyone venturing out of the United Kingdom for business or pleasure will need to change sterling into foreign currency. Establishing a money exchange business, often known as a Bureau de Change, could be a rewarding and profitable way to run your own business. Setting up a money exchange outlet requires investment, planning and professional advice.

Research whether running a money exchange business is suitable for you. Many money exchanges open 24 hours a day, so running the business will take hard work and dedication. You will also need management ability and excellent numeracy and customer service skills.

Identify the right location for the money exchange business. Much of your business will come from travellers, so consider airport terminals, international train stations, large hotels or popular tourist attractions.

Prepare a comprehensive business plan to help you get finance to start the money exchange business. Contact the government-backed Business Link organisation. A Business Link adviser will help you prepare a viable business plan to submit to a building society or bank. Always include financial projections as part of a business plan.

Apply for a business loan from a building society, bank or other lender. Supply your full business plan as part of the application. Remember to consider all set-up costs, including premises, refurbishment, equipment, signage, mortgage or rent costs, professional fees and insurance.

Find suitable premises for your money exchange business. Choose premises that will attract passing trade. Many money exchanges operate from kiosks or small offices at travel and tourism locations. Purchase equipment, including cash tills, money safes, computers and office furniture from wholesale suppliers.

Ensure the premises meet all health, safety and fire regulations. You may also require public liability insurance. Get advice on the specific requirements from your Business Link adviser.

Establish your business formally for tax and accountancy purposes. You can register it as a limited company, partnership or run it as a sole trader. Get professional advice from a solicitor or an accountant. You must inform HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) service of the formation of your business.

Register your money exchange business with HMRC. Under the Money Laundering Regulations of 2007, all Bureaux de Change in the UK must be registered with HMRC.


Consult an accountant or solicitor before setting up your own business.

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About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.