With the holiday season upon us, getting holiday foreign travel currency at the best price is on a lot of minds – don’t get it at the airport though as it can cost you more.
Which? Money undertook research to check the costs of buying $500 and €500 at 21 currency providers.
These included banks, bureaux de change, travel agents, the high street and online – companies such as the Post Office, Eurochange, ICE, Money Exchange, Thompson, American Express and Travelex.
The cost findings are staggering with a difference of almost £50 between the least expensive and the most expensive providers.
Travelex branches gave the most expensive quotes at their airport branches, charging on average £47 for €500 and £40 more for $500.
Other airport bureaux de change, including TTT and American Express, also faired poorly as they usually charge for commission.
Editor of Which? Money, Martyn Hocking, said ‘Don’t just presume that high-street providers such as travel agents and the Post Office offer the best deals. Thinking ahead and changing your money before you travel means you’ll avoid getting stung at the airport.’
MoneyHighStreet recently did a review on currency cards to understand whether they are the best option for travel money.
As the review points out, as well as a currency card for your holiday money, there is of course cash or use of your debit or credit card. These latter options though can be expensive because of transaction fees.
There are advantges to a currency card and they are growing in popularity.
Currency card providers are growing in number too, including from high street banks such as Lloyds TSB, the Post Office and others such as FairFX and Caxton FX.
At the time of writing, checking a limited number of online foreign travel currency providers, we found that to purchase $500 it would have cost the following:
- FairFX – £324.68 (excluding £9.95 currency card cost – see MoneyHighStreet offer below)
- The Post Office – £335.39
- ICE (International Currency Exchange) – £337.11
MoneyHighStreet currently has a special reader offer with FairFX
You can get a FREE FairFX currency card here – just sign up and load €10 and get the card free – it usually costs £9.95.