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  • FIRST POST
    • pthompson
    • By pthompson 19th Jul 03, 6:31 PM
    • 106Posts
    • 46Thanks
    pthompson
    How to buy travellers cheques or foreign currency
    • #1
    • 19th Jul 03, 6:31 PM
    How to buy travellers cheques or foreign currency 19th Jul 03 at 6:31 PM
    Can anyone advise where best to buy 1000 worth of Euros (in cash)?

    I was told that the Post Office is the cheapest as they charge 0% commission, however they're not very transparent on the buy/sell spread -- which is probably where they make their profit -- so it's difficult to compare them with high-street banks, bureaux de change and travel agents.

    Thank

    Official Insert.

    There is now a full article on SENDING MONEY OVERSEAS AND CURRENCY OVERSEAS please read that.
    Last edited by MSE Martin; 21-05-2007 at 1:14 PM.
Page 14
  • mariusvb
    Hi mariusvb,

    Great advice but can you confirm Amex FX for me? Is that American Express and/or do you have any website links! Sorry to ask?!? Where would the nearest office be to central London!

    Cheers
    Originally posted by Angie_T

    From 1st April American Express FX has been taken over by Dubai based company Kanoo. Can't give you a website, because it will take some time to set everything up. I would advise to go to Holborn office (156a Southampton row) or Strand office (1 Savoy court).
  • chuck_the_bear
    hi everyone!

    i am very new to this, so please forgive me for anything i may do wrong )

    my son is going to travel to america for the first time - on his own.

    my question is - what is the best way for him to carry his money?
    he will have approx $200 in cash.
    what should he do with the other 500?
    travellers cheques?
    travellers cheque card?

    one travel agent has recommended the american express card, another has their own on offer.
    at first glance the american express looks the better option, but i wondered if anyone can offer advice on this please?

    any help would be appreciated.

    thank you.
  • catokelly
    I would recommend American ExpressTravellers Cheques, because there is a fee for everytime you withdraw from an ATM machine with the card! Go for cash: low denomination cash notes and plenty of 1dollar bills for tips etc and the remainder in TCS
  • catokelly
    I purchase currency quite regularly and generally find www.onlinefx.co.uk to have the best rates, which are constantly updated throughout the day unlike Travelex. When the Dollar hits a high check onlinefx and they have the new rate. If you order a large amount you can ring them and haggle for an even better rate. Therr buyback rates are usually the best as well.
  • Bazlovejoy
    Best Way To Get Dollars
    Hi

    Can anybody help me?

    Im flying out to Vegas next wednesday and have not yet got my dollars. After reading through this thread I realise that a Nationwide credit card would be best to take with me, but I dont have one of those so was wondering what would be the next best option. I have a Maestro Highline with RBS, would I be able to use that without charge in the US? It was my plan to order cash dollars from travelex, but not sure if I should get all cash or get some travellers cheques for safety in case the cash goes missing, obviously this will incur a charge in the US when I exchange them, which is something Id rather avoid. Its my intention to take 500.

    Thanks in advance

    Baz
    • pin
    • By pin 15th Jun 07, 4:09 AM
    • 4,205 Posts
    • 1,484 Thanks
    pin
    Hi

    Can anybody help me?

    Im flying out to Vegas next wednesday and have not yet got my dollars. After reading through this thread I realise that a Nationwide credit card would be best to take with me, but I dont have one of those so was wondering what would be the next best option. I have a Maestro Highline with RBS, would I be able to use that without charge in the US? It was my plan to order cash dollars from travelex, but not sure if I should get all cash or get some travellers cheques for safety in case the cash goes missing, obviously this will incur a charge in the US when I exchange them, which is something Id rather avoid. Its my intention to take 500.

    Thanks in advance

    Baz
    Originally posted by Bazlovejoy
    Hi, Here is my list of top places on how to get money to spend abroad:

    1. Nationwide Debit Card for ATM withdrawals from destination country (no foreign loading) / the Audi credit card or the Post Office credit card for purchases in destination country (but watch out for Dynamic Currency Conversion) (no foreign loading for purchases, BUT watch charges for cash withdrawals).

    2. Nationwide Credit Card (please note Nationwide's policy re chip and pin in foreign countries: see this thread from FlyerTalk) (no foreign loading for purchases, BUT watch charges for cash withdrawals).

    3. SAGA credit card (if you are over 50) for purchases in destination country (no foreign loading for European purchases, 1% for rest of the world).

    4. Any other debit card for ATM withdrawals from destination country / any other credit card for purchases in destination country (but for both CHECK T&C's to see exact charges).

    5. Thomas Exchange Global ("TEG") in central London - pay and pick up at store (they also offer a delivery service, but charge 5).

    6. Link Foreign Exchange ("LinkFX") in Victoria Station, central London - pay and pick up at store.

    7. Travelex online (remember Travelex will price match any other exchange service, i.e. the one above) -pay online, pick up at airport.

    For price matching: order through Travelex online as you would do normally, then call up TEG (02072401214 or 02078281880) or LinkFX (02072338822) and get a quote re their exchange rate. Email Travelex: customerservices@travelex.com (must be done on the same day) stating the following: your Travelex reference number, your currency quote from TEG or LinkFX (and the fact you got it from TEG or LinkFX) and your address (Travelex will send you a cheque refunding the difference). Also Travelex normally acknowledge receipt of your email. Full terms and conditions of the Travelex Price Promise are on the Travelex website.

    8. Marks and Spencer - pay online or pay and pick up instore.

    9. Online FX (using this link ensures free deliver) - pay online, delivery to home.

    10. HSBC (they seem to use Amex as their travel money provider and offer free delivery for orders over 350) - pay online, deliver to home or pick up from branch (and avoid any delivery charge).

    11. Thomson Travel (they seem to use Amex as their travel money provider) - pay online, delivery to home.

    12. Co-op Travel (they use Currency Express / Exchange and offer free delivery for orders over 300) - pay online, delivery to home.

    13. Post Office (while probably not the best rate, there are many of them around, so may be convenient) - pay online, pick up at PO or pay and pick up at PO.

    14. Haggle with High Street travel agent (which may ensure better rates than 5 to 9 above) - pay and pick up instore.

    With 1 - 4 make sure you tell your card provider you are going abroad, where you are going and for how long, so they can put a note on your account.

    With 5 - 14, if you are paying with debit / credit card check your T&C's as many providers charge for the privilege of using money exchange services.

    Here are links to ATM locators: VISA and MasterCard

    Here are various information links to VISA: Foreign Exchange Rate FAQ and Visa Exchange Rates

    Also please read Martin's article: Spending Overseas and Loading Technicals

    Also look at the these forum threads: The Cheapest Way to Spend Overseas Discussion Area and How to buy TCs and foreign currency

    Hope this all helps!!
    "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind" - Mahatma Gandhi
  • marksandsparksgal
    Have been reading this site for a while, and just thought I'd throw my two dollars/euros etc in!

    I work in the M&S Bureau and thought it might help to tell you how stuff works there. I would point out I know this looks a bit like flagrant advertising, if you feel it is, please delete, just want people to know what cards do and don't charge etc, and I hate it when people get conned. Being a student as well, I know how hard money is to come by!

    M&S rates are pretty good compared to the banks and Post Office, of course that place in Victoria people have mentioned looks very good, and next time I'm in London I'll check it out, (going to Germany for a year in September, so will be needing lots of euros!)

    They take cash and cards: M&S cards, switch/maestro/solo, visa debit and credit (inc. electron), and mastercard. No diner's club or amex (since amex won't let anyone else provide currency on their card). Everything is debited in GBP sterling, so if someone brings a foreign card from a foreign bank, it might incur a fee. Also no cheques.

    Don't know how it works in other stores but in my store we will tell the customer they'll get charged if this is the case (even though the banks on't like this!), and advise they get sterling out of the machine and bring us that if it's a small-ish amount.

    Best cards:

    & More card / m&s chargecard. As long as you pay the bill off, no fees or interest.

    Switch/maestro/solo: eg. banks like Natwest, HSBC, First Direct etc.

    nationwide visa debit

    Rubbish cards:

    visa credit: a cash advance fee (usually around 2.5%) then interest on top of that.

    mastercard: same as above.

    visa debit/electron: unless it's a nationwide card, there will be between 1.5% and 2.5% charge. Abbey National account holders are especially stung, they will charge 1.5%, the make us phone for authorisation (usually an extra 5-7 ins on the phone) to tell you you're going to be charged, then not let you have an amount over a specified daily withdrawal rate. Have had customers with thousands in their account, and Abbey won't let them draw it out. Their daily cash withdrawal policy seems to be you can only have, say 300 per day, either in currency or pounds from an ATM...madness!

    ID

    If you pay on ANY sort of a card (even an M&S one) you'll need to present a UK FULL Driving Licence (can't take provisional, don't ask me why!), or a passport. If you're non-British, we'll take a National ID card if the language is in English, e.g. an American or Australian one, important thing is we have to be able to see a picture, a name that matches the card and an expiry date. For those with old style paper licences, we will take those, though if you're doing a big amount (we're talking thousands here), I'd take a passport to make sure.

    If we buy or sell traveller's cheques, we need ID too, and obviously if a husband and wife both want to sign the same batch (one signature per cheque obviously), we need ID from both of them.

    You can also buy online and if you buy 500+ they do free delivery, as with online, and you usually get a fair mix of notes. (this is true at the moment, may change in the future).

    Tip: If you have a debit card that'll charge (e.g. Barclays) and also hold an M&S card, put it on the M&S card, then take both cards to a normal till and they'll pay the balance off with the debit card there & then. Saves carrying large amounts of cash and worrying about when the bill comes in. This way you save the bank fee, and also have no hassle as you know it's paid.

    buyback
    They do this too, obviously only notes, no coins. With obscure currencies, generally they take notes of 1 worth or more, for example the smallest Egyptian Pound note we'll take is a 50, so even if you have 5 x 20 = 100, they can't take it. Obviously the rate is higher so you lose out, but not as bad as Post Office nd banks, from what I've seen when I've looked on the high street.

    Hope that has helped, if anyone has questions I'll do my best to answer. I really like this forum, more people need to know about how currency works!
  • marksandsparksgal
    Oh just another tip, if you're buying currency at a M&S that has a cafe, they are doing a deal for free coffee.

    http://www.fxcorporation.co.uk/marksandspencer/exchange_rates.asp

    Check the rates here, then download the voucher. Take said voucher to the store when you buy your money, and they'll give you a free voucher for a small capuccino! Also giving out 5 off travel insurance vouchers, which are handy for M&s single trip travel insurance, this ends at the end of the year.

    Think the coffee ones ends 3rd July, but don't hold me to that!
  • kjrigg
    Help!!!!!
    I'm boggled with the amount of information to read.....
    Please help if you know the cheapest way to have money on hand in Bulgaria, (levs)
    I have a new post office credit card, a Lloyds tsb visa delta card and my partner has a HSBC visa delta card.
    It cost me 30 for 75 levs today (commission free), is it better to spend on a post office card, take money out of my tsb bank account, or hsbc, or should I take as much cash possible and change in Bulgaria??
    It's all so confusing??
    I have read all of the information and still cannot work out if I would save money doing any of those things as there are charges everywhere!

    Thank you in anticipation to any replies.
  • marksandsparksgal
    Firstly, don't use the Post Office card, since it's a credt card, they'll usually charge you fees and interest to get foreign currency (even if the place you buy it says free commission, since te harge is off the card, not from the place you buy it).

    If you use your cards in Bulgeria at an ATM there is a good chance you'll get charged, especially if the card has a visa delta symbol. `If I were you I'd get some cash here, and then take sme sterling to Bulgeria too, then youre covered both ways, and only use your card if you have to.

    For future reference, Nationwide debit cards are the best things to have for getting currency.

    Hope that helps.
  • daveybuk
    Credit cards - be warned
    Good advice from the person from M and S. Wish I'd read it before - just to reiterate, BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT BUYING CASH ONLINE WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD.

    I've just spent 400 with Travelex, only to notice - just as I clicked to confirm the purchase - that it mentioned some card providers treat the transaction as a cash advance.

    Phoned immediately to cancel, and arrange a payment by debit card instead. However, they automatically charge the card immediately (although the money was not to be collected for another week). They can refund in 3-10 days but say HSBC Mastercard may still charge me.

    I spoke to HSBC who confirmed that it's a 2.5% fee plus interest on the advance from the moment the transaction clears!

    All of this within 10 minutes of completing the order, and apparently an unstoppable process.

    HSBC did say the charge may not be applied and if it is they will help me "dispute the fee". Whatever that means.

    As an HSBC customer for 18 years and one who's always been healthily in the black, if they charge me 10+ for a mistake I tried to rectify within minutes my Mastercard will be shredded and my current account closed down just as quick! After all, how can it be a cash advance, when you're not getting the cash for another week?
    • Biggles
    • By Biggles 22nd Jun 07, 2:29 PM
    • 7,611 Posts
    • 5,016 Thanks
    Biggles
    Please help if you know the cheapest way to have money on hand in Bulgaria, (levs)
    I have a new post office credit card, a Lloyds tsb visa delta card and my partner has a HSBC visa delta card.
    It cost me 30 for 75 levs today (commission free), is it better to spend on a post office card, take money out of my tsb bank account, or hsbc, or should I take as much cash possible and change in Bulgaria??
    Originally posted by kjrigg
    30 for 75 levs means you were charged around 20% commission!

    Out of the options you list, the Post Office credit card would easily be the best. You would pay 2% (min 2) for the cash withdrawal but with the LTSB or HSBC debit cards it would be 2.75%, plus 2.5% cash withdrawal charges, plus, with LTSB, there would be 1 transaction charges if you buy something with the card.

    As already mentioned, watch out for ATMs that may charge you and, if you have time, try to get a Nationwide credit or debit card before you go.
    • Biggles
    • By Biggles 22nd Jun 07, 2:31 PM
    • 7,611 Posts
    • 5,016 Thanks
    Biggles
    I've just spent 400 with Travelex, only to notice - just as I clicked to confirm the purchase - that it mentioned some card providers treat the transaction as a cash advance.
    Originally posted by daveybuk
    I believe all credit card providers treat foreign exchange purchases as cash advances, though there may be exceptions.
  • daveybuk
    I believe all credit card providers treat foreign exchange purchases as cash advances, though there may be exceptions.
    Originally posted by Biggles
    I think you're probably right. I don't attach any blame at all to Travelex, who were helpful, but did mention that as a service to customers it would be good to display this prominently where the choice of payment is made.
  • marksandsparksgal
    30 for 75 levs means you were charged around 20% commission!

    Out of the options you list, the Post Office credit card would easily be the best. You would pay 2% (min 2) for the cash withdrawal but with the LTSB or HSBC debit cards it would be 2.75%, plus 2.5% cash withdrawal charges, plus, with LTSB, there would be 1 transaction charges if you buy something with the card.

    As already mentioned, watch out for ATMs that may charge you and, if you have time, try to get a Nationwide credit or debit card before you go.
    Originally posted by Biggles
    Would just like to reiterate, the Post Office card, being a CREDIT card will most probably charge you daily interest, and therefore is just as bad as the rest of them!
  • marksandsparksgal
    Good advice from the person from M and S. Wish I'd read it before - just to reiterate, BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT BUYING CASH ONLINE WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD.

    I've just spent 400 with Travelex, only to notice - just as I clicked to confirm the purchase - that it mentioned some card providers treat the transaction as a cash advance.

    Phoned immediately to cancel, and arrange a payment by debit card instead. However, they automatically charge the card immediately (although the money was not to be collected for another week). They can refund in 3-10 days but say HSBC Mastercard may still charge me.

    I spoke to HSBC who confirmed that it's a 2.5% fee plus interest on the advance from the moment the transaction clears!

    All of this within 10 minutes of completing the order, and apparently an unstoppable process.

    HSBC did say the charge may not be applied and if it is they will help me "dispute the fee". Whatever that means.

    As an HSBC customer for 18 years and one who's always been healthily in the black, if they charge me 10+ for a mistake I tried to rectify within minutes my Mastercard will be shredded and my current account closed down just as quick! After all, how can it be a cash advance, when you're not getting the cash for another week?
    Originally posted by daveybuk
    It's a cash advance since you're buying money, not physical goods, e.g. a pair of shoes, a pizza etc. The face that you don't get the money for a week is irrelevent in the card company's eyes, (not their problem you're buying it online) the transaction has hit your account, therefore they will start charging you.

    All I can say is good luck getting it back!

    And hey, if you cancel the card, get a cashback or loyalty points one instead that might make you some money! (Though when you put currency on a credit card, no points I'm afraid, as I once had to explain to someone who wanted to put 6 grand on her Saga card, poor woman!)
    • Biggles
    • By Biggles 24th Jun 07, 12:15 AM
    • 7,611 Posts
    • 5,016 Thanks
    Biggles
    Would just like to reiterate, the Post Office card, being a CREDIT card will most probably charge you daily interest, and therefore is just as bad as the rest of them!
    Originally posted by marksandsparksgal
    Only on cash advances, not purchases and, at only 1.5% per month, if you clear the card as soon as you get back it still beats the other options by a long way. Personally, if I'm using such a card, I tend to fund it before I go to avoid any interest at all.

    Don't get me wrong, I totally agree with you about Nationwide, as I posted earlier, but out of the relatively limited list of options mentioned by kjrigg, the Post Office would be the cheaper. Taking cash, of course, would cost him most of all (eg 6% at the Post Office counter plus the cost of money left over that he found he didn't need), though hopefully not as much as the Levs he's already bought!.
    Last edited by Biggles; 24-06-2007 at 8:19 AM.
  • marksandsparksgal
    Oops, apologies, misread it as he was using for cash advance. (Going square eyed lately).

    Anyway!


    Another random tidbit from the world of M&S today, many bureaux have started using prepack euros and us dollars.

    E.G. someone asks for 200 of euros and we give them, say, 285 euros.

    The prepacks come in 100euros (5x20), 300euros(2x50 and 10x20), same for dollars and same denominations.

    Therefore to give you 285 we would gve you the option of using 2x100 prepacks, and then the odd 85 in mixed, say 10s and 5s.

    These make it a bit quicked for you and are presealed and sold at same rates as normal euro or dollar, handy for budgeting.

    What is good though, is when I was selling them earlier, the prepacks can work out a couple of pence cheaper overall, due to the way the rates are calculated (not more than 1 or 2p I'm afraid!)

    But I just thought it was interesting to point out, and you always get nice new notes lol!
    ...I like my coffee black, just like my metal!
    Proud member no. 15 of the asylum
    night owl thread
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  • gumboid
    I am planning to visit Japan, where cash is king (few places accept credit cards, and fewer accept foreign credit cards). And very very few ATMs accept foreign-issued cards, and then even the non-accepting ones will close at 3 pm !!! So I really needed to sort out my cash and travellers' cheques (just need to remember all financial institutions seem to turn into pumpkins at 3 pm), and the info here has been very very helpful, many thanks.

    Cheers
    Monique.
    • anubis
    • By anubis 9th Jul 07, 4:37 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    anubis
    Hi,am new to the site and to the forum...next week i am off to Santorini...i normally take sterling with me and get my euros from local bureau de change..many small shops change money in countries like Spain and give a better rate than i can get here in England...however on a small island like Santorini i am unsure if i will be able to do the same.
    I now have the decision of do i buy euros here or do i use my nationwide debit card over there? ive not read the whole thread here as its very long...but from the bits i have read...it seems the Nationwide debit card is a good option and has no commission or hidden fees taken out(well not by Nationwide)...and also i would get a better exchange rate...but does the greek bank whose atm you are using take any charges or commission from the money you are puchasing ? :confused:
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