How to make the best currency decisions on holiday

With packing for the kids, sorting travel insurance out, making sure you've cancelled the newspapers and booked the dog in at the kennels, is there any wonder travel money is the last thing on our mind?

You opt for convince right? Don't worry you're not alone. Millions of us are making bad currency choices according to one study - and it appears to be costing us.


The amount tourists add on to their holiday costs with bad currency decisions


The amount of money holidaymakers have in left over currency

Fair FX say by opting to pay in pounds on card when abroad, buying travel money at the airport and using credit and debit cards overseas, consumers are adding an excessive £1.4 billion to their holiday costs a year.

And the amount of wasted cash tots up even further when you include the estimated £2.1bn in leftover currency we bring home from holiday.

That last minute deal isn't so cheap now, is it? But there are some simple steps to avoid over-paying.

Be careful with ATM charges abroad. Credit: PA

Rule number one: Never pay in pounds.

Millions of pounds is apparently being lost by holidaymakers choosing to pay in pounds rather than the local currency.

If you select this its likely you'll face a Dynamic Currency Conversion charge. It's where the retailers apply their own (higher) conversion rate. Avoid it.

Rule number two: Avoid buying currency at the airport.

Buy before you fly. Research into 15 airports found the average euro exchange rate offered at the time was 1.007 - despite the market rate being 1.136, a difference of 13%. Checked at source on 13 June 2017.

One currency provider told me they offer much better rates online and through buying in advance and that very few people buy lots of currency at the airport.


One of the highest rates for using a credit card at an ATM.

Rule number three: Be aware of ATM charges.

Research into six banks reveals that the average ATM fee for debit cards is 2.9% and for credit cards is as high as 4.9%.

It could end up costing more than you think to take cash out for a round of drinks.

Rule number four: Use the right plastic.

Experts look into five banks found the average fees for using your card abroad are 2.8% for debit cards. It's higher for credit cards too - expect more like 2.99% for credit cards.

There are some good deals around on cards offering commission free purchases abroad. Do some homework to find the best deal.

Rule number five: Think about leftover currency.

Stats show holidaymakers bring home an average of £78 in currency.

And if we brought that home in cash instead of loaded on a prepaid currency card, it would equate to a costly £2.1bn across the nation's 27.1m households.

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