Totally Confused - 5 Currencies

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
15 replies 1.2K views
Wolfie45Wolfie45 Forumite
15 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
I've spent ages looking through pages of currency/credit card information for holiday money, and I'm getting more and more confused. Is there some kind soul out there who can give some advice please?

We're British pensioners living permanently in Spain. We have an English bank account (HSBC), a Spanish bank account and a Barclaycard Visa card which is paid off monthly by our English bank with our account address in Spain.

We're travelling abroad at the beginning of December, returning at the end of January. We will be using 5 different currencies during our travel. Can somebody make it simple and advise on the cheapest way to obtain foreign currency in England, Bahrain, Dubai and Sri Lanka? We had thought of transferring some euros from our Spanish bank to my daughter's account in Bahrain and perhaps obtaining the Bahrain/Dubai/Sri Lanka money from her bank, but not sure if that's the best way.

Thank you to anybody willing to give their views on this.
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Replies

  • If you can still apply to open a UK bank account, then look to open either a Metro Bank Current account if you are going to be in London(will take an hour to be issued the account and debit card, together with Internet Banking details) or a N&P Gold Classic Current account.
    If it won't be your main account, consider the Gold Light account. If you can move at least £500 per month through the account, consider the Gold Classic.

    Not only will this save you money on your day to day living in Spain(If you still have Pounds being paid to your from the UK), but it will also facilitate access to the best exchange rate available whilst travelling, via ATM machines.

    Neither of these accounts have exchange rate fees or ATM withdrawal charges.

    Your current accounts have hidden exchange rate fees of around 3%, plus perhaps ATM withdrawal charges(ATM fees are dependent on whether you hold a HSBC Premier account. Though even with the Premier account, you will not escape the nearly 3% exchange rate fee).

    Also consider the Metro Bank credit card or the Halifax Clarity credit card instead of your current credit card. This will save you around 3% on your current CC, as there are no hidden forex fees, unlike your Barclaycard.
  • Many thanks for your advice - I'll look into these.
  • Wolfie45 wrote: »
    Many thanks for your advice - I'll look into these.

    Details for the Gold Light account are here

    Bear in mind that you can only get yourself a Metro Bank card by visiting a branch. But you can get it on the spot.

    N&P, you can call or apply online, but I don't think they will deliver it to Spain. :)
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    For Dubai, one good option is to transfer money electronically into your daughter's account there and then ask her to give it to you in cash. Do NOT ask your bank to make such a transfer, but use a currency broker. I have had consistently good experiences with Custom House (https://www.xe.com) but there are many others: search this branch of the forum for details.

    I suspect that Dubai would be a better place to buy Sri Lankan currency than anywhere in Europe: perhaps your daughter could check the rates available?
  • For Dubai, one good option is to transfer money electronically into your daughter's account there and then ask her to give it to you in cash. Do NOT ask your bank to make such a transfer, but use a currency broker. I have had consistently good experiences with Custom House (https://www.xe.com) but there are many others: search this branch of the forum for details.

    I suspect that Dubai would be a better place to buy Sri Lankan currency than anywhere in Europe: perhaps your daughter could check the rates available?

    Even a Prepaid Mastercard, such as Cash Passport Globe will offer better value than changing currencies through multiple transactions.
    The OP can pick it up at the UK airport, after ordering it using their UK bank account.
    Any remaining money on the card can be utilised in Spain(or anywhere else). Giving a better rate than his existing accounts, at 1.49% off the full Mastercard rate with no ATM withdrawal fees.

    Of course this will only work if the UK is the first country to be visited.
  • edited 27 October 2012 at 11:37AM
    inmypocketnottheirsinmypocketnottheirs Forumite
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    edited 27 October 2012 at 11:37AM
    My recommendation would also be Metro Bank for fee free cash machine and foreign currency transactions on a debit MasterCard. However I think they will require a UK address. If not on the electoral roll also proof of address such as council tax bill or utility bills.
    Don't lie, thieve, cheat or steal. The Government do not like the competition.
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  • Thanks to you all for your advice. Seems like most credit/debit card companies require a UK address, and we no longer have one, so may just send money out to Bahrain and go from there. I appreciate the advice given.
  • Wolfie45 wrote: »
    Thanks to you all for your advice. Seems like most credit/debit card companies require a UK address, and we no longer have one, so may just send money out to Bahrain and go from there. I appreciate the advice given.

    Have sent you a PM.
  • edited 27 October 2012 at 4:04PM
    budgetflyerbudgetflyer Forumite
    5.9K Posts
    edited 27 October 2012 at 4:04PM
    sending money to Bahrain is going to cost you and then any loading to then convert to other currencies again.Not to mention the hassle.
    If you cant get a Spanish version of the Travelex Globe card ,Id just use either your existing Barclaycard or HSBC or Spanish bank card. So much more secure too.
    What % loading does your Spanish bank acc have on overseas withdrawals?
    Even if the loading is 2 or 3% of the pure Visa or Mastercard rate,keeping your spending money in your "home currency" may well be more cost effective as you will avoid any buy back costs of left over currency where the spread can be as much as 15%
  • Obviously_the_bestObviously_the_best Forumite
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    I'd definitely take a Travelex cash passport from the airport in england.
    OTB :D

    Always happy to help (ba-da-ba-ba-ba ching ching)
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