Fifty years ago, obtaining foreign currency was virtually impossible to the holiday traveller. Your only real option was to purchase travellers’ cheques. Each cheque had to be signed by you at the point of purchase and countersigned at exchange in your holiday destination. Long winded and time consuming. Those days are long gone, travellers’ cheques are still available if you wish to use them, but there are now numerous ways to obtain your holiday cash that are definitely more straight forward!
Purchasing your Trip with a Credit Card
You will often have to pay a surcharge for paying for your holiday on a credit card rather than a debit card, but the benefits offered can make this a worthwhile option. If your trip costs over a £100 the Consumer Credit Act protects you should your holiday company or airline go bust, giving you peace of mind. As always, remember to pay off the amount borrowed as soon as possible to avoid paying high interest charges.
Pre-paid Currency Card
There is a growing industry for independent credit card-like applications, such as WeSwap. Basically you apply online for your free WeSwap credit card, backed by MasterCard, load it with your local currency and then either swap some of your local currency into the currency of your destination via the App, or use the card as is and get the best exchange rate at the time of purchase. Either way the WeSwap card can be used in 1000’s of places all over the world! It is simple, secure and safe.
Holiday spend on Credit Cards
One way to spend is to use your existing credit card. The best two cards to use at the moment are either the Santander credit card (you’ll need a current account as well) or the Halifax Clarity credit card. Neither of these charge commission or transaction charges and both give favourable exchange rates when charges are added to your bill. You don’t start accruing interest on either card for purchases such as shops, restaurants and fuel, but you will be charged interest if you withdraw cash from an ATM from the day that you make the withdrawal.
These credit card solutions are perfect most of the time, but there will be occasions when you need cash in hand. For example, on arrival at your destination, for that bus or taxi ride out of the airport. There are several ways of obtaining foreign currency in advance of travel: Your local high street, on-line or at the airport. The high street, which includes banks; post offices; larger supermarkets and travel agencies often have competitive rates. It is definitely worth doing a little research here to see what their exchange rates are. You can of course do this online or walk about locally to ascertain the best rate. Right now, for example, TUI’s Euro travel exchange rate is only 2 cents below the bank’s official exchange rate, but this can change daily!
Bureaux de Change at the Airport
Finally, If you run out of time and do not manage to sort out your currency before you travel you many need to purchase money at the airport. Anyone in the know will tell you this should only be a last resort as you will get a very poor exchange rate, possibly 10% lower, with handling fees ranging from £4.75 to £9.45 on top, depending on your purchased amount.
Free WeSwap Currency Card from FHR! Join today and get a £10 Free travel money on your WeSwap card when you top-up for the first time (min £50)!