When sourcing the best travel currency deals, rates and offers can become confusing. Many providers will have minimum amounts and better rates which are offered on amounts of more than 1000 GBP. Other avenues to consider include the post office and banks, however, these tend to be expensive and commission rates at times can be excessive. Banks also focus very little on travel money exchange and therefore are less interested in providing ultra-competitive rates as they have a monopoly.
Many specialist travel currency providers will often allow clients to select whether they would like their purchased currency in cash or placed on a travel currency card. This can be an excellent idea both from a practical and safety perspective. Ideally, you don’t want to be carrying all your currency when exploring off the beaten track or in obscure locations.
In these circumstances travel currency cards can be ideal. However, please confirm before departing how good the cards coverage is in your location, that the card has a support line and where that’s based. The last thing you want is to be calling an outsourced card helpline when on holiday as you can’t access any of your money.
It’s also worth understanding their policy on fraud in case you are the victim of a card copier or a pickpocket.
Finally, many are to free cash withdrawals when overseas, however, this is always worth clarifying as if not it may be subject to the ATM’s discretion and these charges can add up.
Many well-known travel currency providers will offer an online currency reservation which allows you to select the airport or location of choice. Provides a rate beforehand and allows you fix the rate for collection in the near future. They are typically very keenly priced and are normally offer a considerable saving when compared to buying directly from the airport on the day you depart.
Post offices offer practicality when purchasing currency, They are often located in town centres and can be a convenient way to purchase currency. Rest assured you will pay for this convenience and typically post office travel currency rates will fall short of those offered by specialists and Bureaux’s in city centres. Their website will offer better rates and currency can be delivered to your door, however, delivery is subject to a minimal amount of GBP 400 and the maximum they will deliver is 2,500.
Banks will be able to assist with your travel currency needs however it is far from a focus from them. They typically will operate on a day rate whereas specialist providers will work from a live rate. Meaning if the rate improves dramatically from when the day rate is set you won’t necessarily benefit.
Many providers and even the post office run back schemes which allow you to sell back the currency. Typically they allow you to sell the currency back at a pre-agreed rate meaning you won’t be left out of pocket if the rate moves dramatically. These buy back options can only a few pounds and give ability to take more currency than you may need to offer peace of mind when abroad safe in the knowledge that you can sell back and supplementary travel currency left over from your trip. However, if you are only going for example on a long weekend and you are confident in using most of your currency or keeping any remaining money it might be worth skipping.
In a word absolutely, many independent based travel currency dealers will have some flexibility on pricing particularly if you are looking at buying in excess of 1000 GBP or currency equivalent.
Banks, however, will typically stick to day pricing and have a less flexibility on their pricing and simply put be less willing to offer reductions.
Airport located bureaux de changes will typically pay a portion of their profitability to the airport owner or holding company and can therefore be a very expensive way of purchasing your currency. However, some providers as mentioned above will offer the ability to pre-book and normally this enables the providers to offer much more competitive pricing.