Travel Money & Foreign Exchange Tips guide



  • ezglide1450
    ezglide1450 Forumite Posts: 41 Forumite
    I too got a Revolut card at the beginning of the year on the recommendation of MSE. It's a good idea but hasn't been properly tested. In March my card was declined in Barbados due to a problem with the service provider and I found it really difficult to resolve through the in app chat. Just got it will be fixed soon platitudes. It worked 'most of the time' which is ok if you have a back up like cash or another card. It failed again a couple of days ago in Barbados again and more problems! 3 declined transactions all charged to the card reducing the available balance still not refunded, customer service is woefully inadequate no other way to contact other than in app chat which is impossibly slow. Resorted to twitter and Revolut community for help. Don't rely on Revolut is all I can advise.
    I am very reluctant to recommend them as things stand.
    Ps there is going to be another 14 hr shutdown bet 12 midday Sunday and 0200 Monday for 'essential maintenance' too
  • ToddN
    ToddN Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    edited 12 October 2017 at 4:09PM
    Hi All,
    just a note of caution re Travel FX, as many will already know, it's payment by BACS (not card) only and if things go wrong... they not only charge 25 pounds cancellation fee, but set their own 'buy-sell' rates... we purchased over 700 pounds of currency, cancelled and received less than 600 pounds back!
    We tried to contact them in time to resolve (by email & phone), but unfortunately they don't seem to answer their phone (called over 20 times) and there's no message service, Emails were answered slowly/next day/too late.
    Their Managers reply to complaints/email, but ignore questions and say its within their rights/small print.
    Sure they have many happy customers, but if things go wrong....
  • Francesspicer
    Francesspicer Forumite Posts: 1
    Fifth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I recently moved home from Australia to Scotland. I kept my car until literally the last minute. I sold my car in the last week. The lady gave me cash for it on the Friday and I flew home on the Monday with the cash. I'm with the TSB and have been for over 20 years. They won't let me put the money in my account as "they no longer deal in any currency". I went to the post office who were unable to change my money without a receipt of change. I explained my situation and they told me it's due to money laundering. I am stuck with Australian dollars that I can't change now. I have tried asking other banks who have said they would take the money of an existing customer, but for me I'd need to prove where I got the money from. I have the document of transfer of the car from Department of Transport for Western Australia but they require a statement from the lady who bought the car from me. I have asked her but she has never replied. I'm at a loss. Can you help me? This is my money?!
  • eDicky
    eDicky Forumite Posts: 6,386
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I'm at a loss. Can you help me? This is my money?!
    Best to stay away from UK banks with your Aussie cash, they would skin you on the exchange rate if they did take any. AML (anti money laundering) regulations are draconian these days.

    Shop around for the best rates at decent exchange bureaux, which are not the Post Office, travel agents or supermarkets. Exchange odd amounts of no more than a thousand or two at a time and don't mention larger amounts or selling your car for cash, and don't try putting more than that cash in your bank account or the bells will ring.
    Evolution, not revolution
  • Angelfeathers
    Angelfeathers Forumite Posts: 375
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Just applied for a Starling Bank app-only account to spend and withdraw cash free abroad, as per the recommendation in the weekly email, and I have to say, as someone who hates doing things on my phone and vastly prefers using a proper computer, this was *so* easy to set up! Really impressed. Looks like by far the easiest way to manage your money abroad!
    I'm broke, not poor. Poor sounds permanent, broke can be fixed. (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
    LBM June 2009, Debt Free (except mortgage) Sept 2016 - DONE IT!
  • huw01
    huw01 Forumite Posts: 321
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Santander confirmed to me via Internet banking secure message that Santander customers can now also use Banco popular ATMs free of charge in Spain as Banco popular is now part of the Santander group.

    So any Santander branded ATM now includes Banco Santander and Banco Popular for those who have the 123 or select debit cards.
  • JayKayPol
    JayKayPol Forumite Posts: 4
    First Post
    I've been using Halifax Clarity for the past 3 years, and have been happy with it, until a recent trip to Spain. I have always had a direct debit set up to pay off the card in full. I received my usual statement dated 16 June, with a payment date of 12 July. Monitoring my accounts via online banking a few days later, I saw that I had received a refund of £175 to the Clarity Card from a supplier. I assumed that, in line with every other credit card I hold, the direct debit payment taken on 12 July would have adjusted for this amount. Wrong! They took the full amount, and when I phoned today to query, I was informed that their normal practice would be that it would be adjusted at the following month's statement, and the amount credited at the following payment date. When I protested at the length of time that Halifax would be holding on to my money - I was informed by the operator that I could always go and make further purchases on the credit card in order to "reclaim" my money. He did agree to refund my bank account immediately, and also to process my complaint formally. However, I wanted to let people know about this Halifax procedure - if I hadn't checked my balances on line carefully, this could have passed me by, and it could have caused problems with the bank account that my direct debit was paid from :(
  • toothache90
    toothache90 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    edited 25 July 2018 at 12:04PM
    I use Transferwise Borderless Account. I get a Mastercard Debit card that i can load up on multiple currencies with an associated bank account for each country. This allows me to transfer money to anyone of those countries as if nationally without incuring fees. Only paying the conversion rate from GBP to currency.

    It would be good if Martin or his team look at this and compare as i personally think this is the better ways if you travel a lot to different countries or you have relatives/friends whom you want to send money to, without the huge bank fees since you already have the account details of each of the currencies you've activated.
  • shinydoc
    shinydoc Forumite Posts: 128
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Some of you may be familiar with CashBack in the UK where you pay with your Debit card and ask for up to £50 cashback?

    Well this works abroad too, if you use a travel debit card like the one from Starling Bank. I particularly use in Wal*Mart to get $100 back and you absolutely will not get a better rate for your travel money and no fees from anyone - job done!

    Remember use a debit card, or you will get a cash advance charge, although most places will not allow cashback on a Credit Card anyway.
  • crockett44
    crockett44 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    edited 28 July 2019 at 6:09PM
    So I've just come back from a week in Majorca with family and before I went I decided to try a pre-paid card...yes the ones that are supposed to be a great option....the ones that 'savvy' travellers use. I decided to work the numbers accurately, and compare the Post Office travel card that I used to what my NatWest credit card would have cost me. The result surprised me as follows:

    Post Office Travel Card
    Total Euros loaded in = €1379.40
    Exchange Rate = 1.07
    Total £ that hit my bank account = £1292.76
    €45.67 remaining on card to convert back to £ at rate of 1.27 = £35.96
    Total £ spent = £1292.76 - £35.96 = £1256.80

    Natwest Credit Card (assuming used for same transactions as prepaid card)
    Exchange Rate : 1.11 (I used the card a couple of times to check this)
    Transaction Fee : 2.75% (I used the card a couple of times to check this).
    There were 25 transactions on the prepaid card and I simply cut/pasted these and applied the exchange rate & transaction fee to each one to model what it would have cost me had I used the credit card.
    Total £ spent had I used credit card = £1234.42

    So the prepaid card was £22.38 or 1.8% more expensive than the credit card. If I assume use of the NatWest Mastercard with no overseas transaction charges (they do one of these), then the prepaid would have been £55.42 or 4.6% more expensive than the credit card (assuming the same exchange rate).

    I also found the prepaid card more hassle - I had to keep checking how much was on the card, and load up a few times. I even got the card declined once as it did not have enough currency loaded.

    Yes prepaid cards can help budget, and it is important to have the right credit card, but I wont be using a prepaid card again - more hassle than a credit card, and more expensive.
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