Avoid these common currency exchange mistakes to get more for your money.
Getting your foreign currency at the airport
Don’t be tempted to leave your travel money to the last minute at the airport unless you’re happy getting rotten exchange rates. Unlike fags, booze and perfume there is no such thing as duty free currency exchange and you will likely get a criminal rate for your money. Avoid, avoid, avoid! – even if you see ‘trusted’ big name providers.
Thinking big names means best rates
There’s a popular misconception that banks, building societies and the Post Office all provide excellent exchange rates. This is not the case at all – they have high margins, which translate to a much poorer deal for you. Try to avoid purchasing your foreign currency here; despite their promises of brilliant rates you will nearly always find better prices elsewhere.
Letting leftover currency go to waste
Many people forget they can exchange their leftover foreign currency when they get back. However, before you return home try to swap any loose coins you have for notes. Bureau de changes in the UK will purchase many leftover currencies (there are some exceptions), but they will only accept notes of certain denominations. Buy rates fluctuate wildly from provider to provider, so ALWAYS shop around for the best rate you can find before you exchange.
Claire Connachan is an FX expert and has worked at one of the UK’s largest independent foreign exchange companies.