Travel Money & Foreign Exchange Tips guide

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  • gillybusybee
    gillybusybee Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    We use our Halifax Clarity Card in Auchan, Calais in February, for a £100 spend. THe shop assistant charged us £5 for the privilege. Does this happen in other shops?
  • Debris62
    Debris62 Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    Hi
    My 17 year old is going to Europe for a month this summer-any suggestions on best way for her to take/spend money as I understand pre-paid cards are for over 18's only - is the right?
  • eDicky
    eDicky Forumite Posts: 6,388
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    Debris62 wrote: »
    My 17 year old is going to Europe for a month this summer-any suggestions on best way for her to take/spend money as I understand pre-paid cards are for over 18's only - is the right?
    Soldo provides supplementary cards for under-18s and good value for overseas use. Monthly fee begins after three months. Please let us know how it goes if you try it.

    https://family.soldo.com/en-uk/c/family/
    Evolution, not revolution
  • maz100
    maz100 Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    I used the Travel Money Max via MSE to look for a good Euro rate. It did give me the best rates for cash at various pickup locations.

    I also obtained a Clarity credit card from the Halifax, because there are no interest charges when buying goods using it - and the exchange rate is the true market rate as it's a Mastercard.

    However, I called Halifax to obtain Euro's via a Branch using my Clarity card. But they do do that service. (Although they tell you you could on the phone).

    I felt I was a little misguided as I thought I would get the Mastercard exchange rate (at least 2 cents above the best cash rate on MSE collection places), using at ATM at the Airport. But that rate was 1 Euro for £1.:mad: So I declined. I did get 1.086 at an ATM in Spain and NO fees. (Halifax will charge £1.56 for every £100 cash withdrawn)

    I would have been better just buying Euro's at Heathrow at 1.14 - having shown the rate to the teller via my phone, as I have done this before.
    Well, at least my purchases will be at 1.16 rate from Clarity

    I think MSE should mention and Clarify (excuse the pun) that UK Airport ATM's are a rip off - at the very beginning if the rates listed and especially where the Clarity card is shown.;)
  • eDicky
    eDicky Forumite Posts: 6,388
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    maz100 wrote: »
    However, I called Halifax to obtain Euro's via a Branch using my Clarity card. But they do do that service. (Although they tell you you could on the phone).

    I felt I was a little misguided as I thought I would get the Mastercard exchange rate (at least 2 cents above the best cash rate on MSE collection places), using at ATM at the Airport. But that rate was 1 Euro for £1.:mad: So I declined. I did get 1.086 at an ATM in Spain and NO fees. (Halifax will charge £1.56 for every £100 cash withdrawn)
    The MSE article is misleading for some, but the MasterCard exchange rate using Clarity is only available for purchases and cash withdrawals, and only if you ensure that you pay in the foreign currency, or select the 'Without Conversion' option when using an ATM. The latter is important, any exchange rate for pounds displayed on-screen is what the ATM will give you instead of the MasterCard rate unless you decline it. It sounds like you fell for this in Spain.

    As for airport ATMs, of course their purpose is for legally fleecing the unwary passenger. But in fact you can obtain the MasterCard rate with Moneycorp multicurrency ATMs (Stansted, Gatwick, Southend) using a fee-free credit or prepaid card such as Clarity, by taking care to select 'Without Conversion' when the choice is offered, in the same way as overseas. This does not work with Travelex or any other ATMs in the UK.
    Evolution, not revolution
  • zagfles
    zagfles Forumite Posts: 19,853
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    We use our Halifax Clarity Card in Auchan, Calais in February, for a £100 spend. THe shop assistant charged us £5 for the privilege. Does this happen in other shops?
    I've used my Clarity in hundreds of shops, restaurants, petrol pumps and ATMs all over France and never been charged.

    I guess there might be some places that charge extra for credit card purchases, just like there are here. But I've never come across any in France and I'm a regular traveller.
  • zagfles
    zagfles Forumite Posts: 19,853
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    maz100 wrote: »
    I used the Travel Money Max via MSE to look for a good Euro rate. It did give me the best rates for cash at various pickup locations.

    I also obtained a Clarity credit card from the Halifax, because there are no interest charges when buying goods using it - and the exchange rate is the true market rate as it's a Mastercard.

    However, I called Halifax to obtain Euro's via a Branch using my Clarity card. But they do do that service. (Although they tell you you could on the phone).
    I never trust anything bank staff tell me on the phone. I've been told utter rubbish too many times.
    I felt I was a little misguided as I thought I would get the Mastercard exchange rate (at least 2 cents above the best cash rate on MSE collection places), using at ATM at the Airport. But that rate was 1 Euro for £1.:mad: So I declined.
    Which airport? I mean UK or foreign? Most UK airport ATMs will convert the currency at a ridiculously bad rate - far worse than even changing cash on the high street!

    Wait till you're at the foreign airport and use an ATM there. As eDicky says make certain you do not let the ATM do the conversion. Take the "without coversion" option. Sometimes it will ask you if you're sure. It may warn you that you won't know what the exchange rate will be. This is true. One thing you do know, it'll be a hell of a lot better than the rate the ATM was offering you.
    I did get 1.086 at an ATM in Spain and NO fees.
    That sounds like you let the ATM do the conversion. The reason for having a Clarity is it gives excellent currency conversion rates. But you lose all that if you let the ATM do the conversion!! Foreign ATMs will always ask you before converting. Always say no.
    (Halifax will charge £1.56 for every £100 cash withdrawn)
    You mean as interest? Pay it off as soon as you can as you'll pay much less than that. Don't wait for the statement.
    I would have been better just buying Euro's at Heathrow at 1.14 - having shown the rate to the teller via my phone, as I have done this before.
    Well, at least my purchases will be at 1.16 rate from Clarity

    I think MSE should mention and Clarify (excuse the pun) that UK Airport ATM's are a rip off - at the very beginning if the rates listed and especially where the Clarity card is shown.;)
    The key thing to remember is that whenever using the Clarity is don't let the ATM do the conversion.

    Similarly you sometimes get retailers who'll try to convert the currency because they usually get a kickback of the rip-off rate they'll use. So when paying for stuff I find it safest to tell them to charge it in Euros (or whatever the local currency is).
  • PeacefulWaters
    PeacefulWaters Forumite Posts: 8,495 Forumite
    Halifax will charge £1.56 for every £100 cash withdrawn
    That would be if you wait a month.

    5p per £100 per day. So pay fast and smile.
  • maz100
    maz100 Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    Yes, I did fall for that in Spain. Next time it will be the "Without Conversion" option !!

    Yes the customer services at Halifax were in conflict at procedures at their own bank. I was told "Yes they do" give you cash when you present your Clarity credit card at branch - No we don't was the branch's reply" :rotfl:
  • maz100
    maz100 Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    But in fact you can obtain the MasterCard rate with Moneycorp multicurrency ATMs (Stansted, Gatwick, Southend) using a fee-free credit or prepaid card such as Clarity, by taking care to select 'Without Conversion' when the choice is offered, in the same way as overseas. This does not work with Travelex or any other ATMs in the UK.[/QUOTE]

    Yes I was in Heathrow, I did not see the selection for 'Without Conversion' option - but I may have not been looking properly. I walked away anyhow.:j
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