Buying your Foreign Currency

By | Category: Travel rumblings

If you’ve been abroad this Easter, you will have had to get some local currency. The signs at the Bureaux de Changes (we don’t seem to have a suitable English phrase) will have said things like “best rates”, “won’t be beaten” and maybe, “commission free.” Whatever they say, at lot of us moan at much money we receive for each pound we change.
Some comment just before Easter won’t surprise some as they claim we may not be getting good deals. One currency provider that lets you book in advance, FairFX.com, claims that some commission free deals are actually costing us up to 15% more.
How? Because of poorer exchange rates and other charges. According to their research some 58% of us look for commission free/0% commission signs because we think we will get it cheaper. FairFX.com is calling on the Office of Fair Trading to enforce transparent advertising to protect consumers.
On a similar theme, a specialist tour operator to Morocco, Fleewinter, has alerted it’s customers to the fact that exchange rates on Moroccan dirhams were high over here. One of their staff said that they were offered just 8.2 to the pound but if they tried to sell them back on the return of their holiday, they were getting over 14 to the pound. On £100, it was pointed out, that meant a loss of £55. The suggestion was wait till they get to Morocco before they change their currency.
So is it the case? Going to Egypt I was pretty much assured of getting better rates there than here but that might have changed in the last year or so. It does seem though that some popular destinations like Morocco and Tunisia don’t appear on the lists of currencies freely available from the main providers. But even then, the most popular currency, the euro is at about €1.112 in the papers but the tourist rates are about €1.05 making a 6 cent difference. For each £100 that’s a €6 difference. So the obvious things to do are
1 Look at a number of suppliers first and choose
2 Buy online and in advance if you can because you will often get a better rate and if the currency rises against the pound you will still get the rate you agreed and if it goes down, then I’ve always been given the new, higher rate.

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