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Currency Exchange

By buying your foreign currency when arriving in downtown Paris at reputable currency exchange bureau such as UME, you avoid being charged expensive transaction fees on top of your currency exchange rate as would be the case at the airport or from a cash machine.

When you withdraw cash with your credit or debit card from a bank’s cash machine in a foreign country, you generally do not know what currency rate the bank will apply to your transaction, and how disadvantageous that currency rate will be. Often, the foreign bank will also apply a bank fee. When you exchange your currency at a bureau de change in an airport or an international train station, the exchange rate is usually very onerous and heavy commissions and surcharges are also often applied on top. On the contrary, by exchanging foreign currencies downtown, at a reputable money exchange specialist such as UME, you can secure a competitive exchange rate, with high quality service for a broad availability of currencies and denominations.

When traveling with an important sum of money, the best way to carry cash is in a wallet in the internal pocket of a coat or jacket, or in a travel belt fastened to your waist. If you must carry cash inside a bag or luggage, make sure that you are doing so in a handbag or satchel that can be worn across the shoulder and/or under the arm.

French regulations require any cash currency transaction for a value of more than 1,000 euros to be identified with a valid passport or identity card (for Switzerland and EU nationals only). In the spirit of compliance and transparency, UME applies a threshold of 800 euros for which an ID is requested.

As a financial operator, UME is required to comply with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism regulations. We may on a case-by-case basis be asking you for compliance documentation to justify your transaction, such as: pay-slip, tax-sheet, invoice, beneficial owner ID, etc.

“Net rates” or “prix nets” mean that our money exchange bureau do not charge any transaction fee, commission, tax or surcharge on top of the quoted exchange rate. Our only remuneration is the spread between the Buy and Sell exchange rates, so our exchange rates are “net” of additional charge.

There is no limit in the amount of currency in cash you are allowed to have with you when traveling through the European Union, but it is a requirement to declare any amount of cash in excess of 10,000 euros being in your possession when entering or leaving the European Union.

Before returning to your home country, do not sell back your currency at the airport or in a train station, as you might be quoted a disadvantageous exchange rate with a large transaction fee or surcharge. By contacting UME downtown, you will have the opportunity to sell back your currency at an advantageous “net rate” (i.e. at an exchange rate without any additional fee or surcharge).

You can buy foreign currencies (other currencies than Euros) from UME in cash, by credit or debit card. Bank cheques are not accepted as means of payment. You can get Euros in cash against your own currency, in cash, as well.

Booking foreign currency in advance can help secure an advantageous currency exchange rate, and the availability of a foreign currency in denominations of your preference, particularly in the case of large amounts or less frequently exchanged currencies.

Tax Refund

Shops usually have a contract with one of the existing tax refund operators. You can find the operator’s logo on the tax refund form and the envelope. UME is an agent of Planet (before known as Premier Tax Free).

Tax refund is a process whereby non-EU residents can receive a refund of all or part of the value-added tax (VAT) paid on the purchases of goods they make in the European Union.

Advanced tax refund locally must be made in cash. For tax refunds on credit cards or by transfer on your bank account, the stamped documentation must be sent directly to the tax refund operator, who will proceed with the refund.

Irrespective of the tax refund process you choose, it is always compulsory to have your tax refund documentation stamped at customs at the airport upon departure from the European Union. If you have received an advanced tax refund in cash, you have 21 days from the date of refund to have your documentation stamped by the customs upon leaving the EU, and to send your documentation to the tax operator by post. If you do not post your stamped documentation within that period, you risk losing your advanced tax refund and incurring a penalty which will be debited from your credit card.

When you leave the European Union and have your documentation stamped at customs, your purchases must be in their original packaging. If they are not in their original packaging, customs authorities have a right to refuse stamping your tax refund documentation. You would then lose the benefit of your advanced refund and risk incurring penalties.

Tax refund is usually made locally in the country’s own currency, i.e. the Euro. However, the tax refund agent, if also a currency exchange operator such as UME, can immediately convert your refund into your home currency at a favorable rate, assuming that currency is available.

Tax refund in France usually pays back between 10% and 15% of the total purchase amount. Exceptionally, the refund can be applicable to the entirety of the tax (VAT), but this is at the discretion of the shop where the purchase is being made. As an agent, UME charges a fixed commission to process the cash refund operation. The amount depends on the operator.

If the tax refund form is already stamped by the customs of a European Union country, you can obtain your tax refund in France at our Champs-Elysées UME bureau, by presenting the stamped documentation, your shopping receipt, and your original passport. If the documentation is not already stamped by a customs office, the refund can only take place at the airport, after customs.

To receive your tax refund from a refund agent such as UME, you must visit our Champs-Elysées office with the tax refund form provided by the shop where you made the purchase, the purchase receipt, your original passport, and your credit card as a guarantee.

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