What is a good deal?
You need to find the best exchange rate with the lowest additional charges, like delivery fees, to get a good deal.
Compare foreign currency deals online and in store to find which company will give you the most travel money in total.
Taking travel money with you is not the only way to spend abroad so make sure you explore all your options before your trip.
What are the costs?
This shows how much foreign currency you can get in exchange for your money.
Travel money providers buy foreign currency at a wholesale price, meaning they can sell the currency to you at a profit. This is why there are so many different exchange rates.
If you find three travel money companies offering pound to euro exchange rates you will get more for your money if you pick he highest number, for example:
Provider 1: 1.37
Provider 2: 1.30
Provider 3: 1.41
The highest figure will give you the best deal, in this case provider three will give you 1.41 euros for every pound.
This is taken by travel money providers to handle the administration of your order.
The charge is normally incorporated into the rate, so although many companies advertise 0% commission they could still be charging you by offering a less-competitive exchange rate instead.
A delivery charge may apply if you buy your travel money online or over the phone. The cost varies; some companies offer free delivery to your home address while others offer free delivery for collection from a branch or at the airport.
Credit card charges
If you buy foreign currency with your credit card you will be charged:
On your credit card - buying foreign currency is treated as a cash withdrawal. This means you will incur a cash advance fee and daily interest charges.
By the travel money company - most charge a transaction fee of up to 3% for using your credit card to pay for your currency.
How should you buy?
Ordering travel money online and in store both have different pros and cons:
Obscure currencies available
Need to wait for delivery
Could get lost in the post
Easily found on high street
Collect straight away
No delivery charges
Takes time to compare
Can you order in advance?
Yes, this is known as pre-ordering and it means:
you can avoid delivery charges by picking up the currency in store
you will need to leave plenty of time for arrival if you have your currency delivered
Planning in advance gives you time to weigh up the pros and cons of the different travel money options, including online cash orders and travel money cards.
If time is tight read our last minute travel guide to find out what your different options are.
Top tips for getting the best deal
Focus on the overall cost: do not just look for the highest exchange rate, because you could find a lower rate is better overall if commission and delivery charges are excluded.
Do not use your credit card: use your debit card or simply swap your sterling cash into your chosen currency to avoid excessive credit card charges.
Avoid cheap tricks: do not be swayed by companies offering 0% commission on travel money as this will apply to almost every travel money company.
Prepare in advance: shop around for travel money well before your trip so you can compare deals and make the most of free delivery options which take longer to arrive.
Can you haggle?
Usually no, but some independent currency exchange companies on the high street have staff that can use discretion to get you a slightly better rate.