Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • pthompson
    • By pthompson 19th Jul 03, 5:31 PM
    • 106Posts
    • 46Thanks
    pthompson
    How to buy travellers cheques or foreign currency
    • #1
    • 19th Jul 03, 5:31 PM
    How to buy travellers cheques or foreign currency 19th Jul 03 at 5:31 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 12:14 PM.
Page 3
  • nmealey
    I agree with martins advice regarding spending on your credit card, giving better rates, but with the US $ at 1.82 to the I can get $2000 for 1093.02 at travelex. Tis is guaranteed. I'm not going to the satates until late august, and cant say what I will get my money for at that time.

    If the rate goes to $1.70 to 1 then I get $1858.10 for my 1093.02 - a difference of $141.90 which I would not have accrued in interest had I left it in the bank.

    Does it still make sense to pay on CC. I don't think so unless I have missed something, which I usually do !

    Neil
    If you can't say something nice - SHUT UP
    • newfoundglory
    • By newfoundglory 6th Apr 05, 1:06 PM
    • 1,861 Posts
    • 668 Thanks
    newfoundglory
    I agree with martins advice regarding spending on your credit card, giving better rates, but with the US $ at 1.82 to the I can get $2000 for 1093.02 at travelex. Tis is guaranteed. I'm not going to the satates until late august, and cant say what I will get my money for at that time.

    If the rate goes to $1.70 to 1 then I get $1858.10 for my 1093.02 - a difference of $141.90 which I would not have accrued in interest had I left it in the bank.

    Does it still make sense to pay on CC. I don't think so unless I have missed something, which I usually do !
    by nmealey
    Ah yes, but you are assuming that the rate will fall between now and then; when in fact you are no more likely to lose than you are to gain - but thats the 50/50 risk.

    No one can say for sure whats going to happen to the markets that far in the future! I'm no speculator, but its definitely not impossible that the rate could hit more than $2 to the .

    If you want no risk, then go ahead and buy currency now at whatever rate you believe is "fair".

    Or, you could try to reduce the risk - buy some currency now... then buy some more in a few months time... then stick the rest on your credit card when you get to the US!
  • Jockie
    dollar traveller cheques
    Does anyone have a recommendation to make. I've been looking at Travelex - decent rate but order in advance & collect at airport - pain. Also onlinefx, gives better rate but 4.95 delivery charge but to your door. What's peoples experiences with these two?
    I say what I like, I like what I say!
  • scoot
    I have used onlineFX a number of times - very easy, very efficient & good rates. Obviously the delivery charge adds to the overall cost, but worth it for the convenience.
    • niff_noff
    • By niff_noff 21st Apr 05, 10:58 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    niff_noff
    I have also used OnlineFX numerous times, but have avoided the delivery charge by accessing them via this link
    http://www.1stholidaystore.co.uk/foreigncurrency.htm
    I have occasionally found Travelex to have a slightly better rate, but I would rather avoid the possibility of not having time to collect from their office at the airport if I am running late for a flight.
  • ler01kjh
    Nationwide was great for me. Until 1st March, I got 1% cashback on all transactions as well. If you're heading to a developed country, I'd open and account, and stick to nationwide. You can withdraw as many times as you want.
    • stackhouse
    • By stackhouse 9th May 05, 9:57 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    stackhouse
    I've read through this thread with interest. I need to take $300 with me to China and looked at Travelex. When you convert the $300 into it shows 146 but to buy them puts the price upto 165, a bit strange (unless I missed the charge info).
    They also don't seem to sell Chinese Yuan.
    Just a comment...
    • grumbler
    • By grumbler 16th May 05, 3:53 PM
    • 51,733 Posts
    • 21,942 Thanks
    grumbler
    I read original article and searched this thread. I have not found anything related to the fact that many (most of?) banks charge you 1.5%+ for using debit card to buy currency or travellers cheques (see posts #18,21-22 in the 'best exchange rate for Euros-please ' thread). I think this important information needs to be added to the original article.
    We are born naked, wet and hungry...Then things get worse.

    .withdrawal, NOT withdrawel ..bear with me, NOT bare with me
    .definitely, NOT definately ......separate, NOT seperate
    should have, NOT should of
    .....guaranteed, NOT guarenteed
    • MarkyMarkD
    • By MarkyMarkD 16th May 05, 11:07 PM
    • 9,795 Posts
    • 4,216 Thanks
    MarkyMarkD
    Does anyone have a recommendation to make. I've been looking at Travelex - decent rate but order in advance & collect at airport - pain. Also onlinefx, gives better rate but 4.95 delivery charge but to your door. What's peoples experiences with these two?
    by Jockie
    I almost always use Travelex. I can't see what's a pain about collecting at the airport - you've got to go there anyway! If you have it delivered to the house, the chances are you won't be there when the postie rings (or in our case, normally, knocks quietly and then runs away) and will have to troll to the Post Office/delivery office/whatever. Also avoids you the risk of carrying a pile of cash around with you prior to the airport.
    • vinylmusic
    • By vinylmusic 19th May 05, 6:15 AM
    • 1,155 Posts
    • 398 Thanks
    vinylmusic
    I usually wait till I get across to Europe and change my pounds to Euros over there. In most cases I get a better rate there than I do here. The advantages can vary from country to country and bank to bank so you need to shop around. In France I find the post office best.
    If you go to the same country on a regular basis opening a bank account in that country can be an advantage. Some banks give better exchange rates to customers depositing to their account.
    Also you can leave your unspent Euros there for next time possibly gaining interest in the process
  • Munki
    I've just taken a look at the travelex website, as I'm wanting to get some Cypriot 's for when we on holiday on Sunday. However I can't see if they offer commision free buy-back or not. They have a tick box for their 'Buy back plus' service, but it costs 3.50, which is a rip off. If I don't choose this option will travelex buy back the money at the going rate at that time, or is the only way to have commission free buy-back to pay 3.50 (which in my view defeats the whole object of it being commission free from the average punter!)

    Cheers,

    Munki.
    Nice to save.
    • MarkyMarkD
    • By MarkyMarkD 19th May 05, 7:25 PM
    • 9,795 Posts
    • 4,216 Thanks
    MarkyMarkD
    How is it a rip-off not to offer commission-free buy back? The companies which DO offer this charge "rip-off" prices in the first place and/or charge a HUGE bid-offer spread on the exchange rates which negates the "commission free" buy back deal.

    Just don't take too much cash! Use a credit card over there to withdraw the last few if you can't predict how much you'll need.
    • niff_noff
    • By niff_noff 20th May 05, 10:22 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    niff_noff
    Having just re-read Martins Guide, it seems to me that the cheapest way to spend and to withdrawal cash has got to be the Liverpool Victoria Credit Card (assuming you don't want to change current a/c to Nationwide to get their debit card).
    For cash, although they charge 1.5% withdrawal fee, this is more than offset by the better cc exchange rates (Martin's 'spot-check' in the article gave a 5% better rate). The key, though, is that LVic do not charge interest on cash withdrawals if paid off in full, thus potentially saving interest @ 15% or more on this amount.
    This even make the LVic cc better than the NW cc for worldwide cash withdrawals as you would pay 2.75% withdrawal fee with LVic vs 15.3% (min) interest with NW - and still better than other cash sources due to the better exchange rate, assuming Martin's 5% better rate is typical.
    One more point - make minimum cash withdrawal 150 so that 1.50 minimum charge is covered
    Please comment if I have missed something here....
    • grumbler
    • By grumbler 20th May 05, 10:44 PM
    • 51,733 Posts
    • 21,942 Thanks
    grumbler
    ...assuming you don't want to change current a/c to Nationwide to get their debit card....
    by niff_noff
    You do not need to change account. The article is already corrected.
    ...This even make the LVic cc better than the NW cc for worldwide cash withdrawals as you would pay 2.75% withdrawal fee with LVic vs 15.3% (min) interest with NW ...
    How can you compare one-off fee with annual interest rate?
    ...and still better than other cash sources due to the better exchange rate, assuming Martin's 5% better rate is typical....
    Worse than NW debit or cash card. Worse than NW credit card outside Europe
    ...One more point - make minimum cash withdrawal 150 so that 1.50 minimum charge is covered...
    One more point - withdraw any amount with NW debit and cash card without any charge.
    We are born naked, wet and hungry...Then things get worse.

    .withdrawal, NOT withdrawel ..bear with me, NOT bare with me
    .definitely, NOT definately ......separate, NOT seperate
    should have, NOT should of
    .....guaranteed, NOT guarenteed
    • niff_noff
    • By niff_noff 21st May 05, 9:40 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    niff_noff
    Thanks Grumbler - I thought I must have overlooked something - hence my closing line.
    However, I did start my post with an assumption about not wanting to change to NW current a/c. I incorrectly assumed I would have to change to qualify for the card, rather than just opening one as a secondary account.
    Of course my other mistake was the APR of 15.3% (only 1.27% per month).
    So to summarise (hopefully correctly this time) :
    1) Of course the NW debit card is the best bar none

    ....but for those who don't want an NW bank a/c...

    2) The LVic cc is the best cc for Europe
    3) If you are over 50, the SAGA cc is the best cc for ex-Europe use (1% withdrawal fee vs 1 month interest @ 1.27% for NW cc)
    4) Otherwise the NW cc is the best for ex-Europe use
    • grumbler
    • By grumbler 21st May 05, 10:41 PM
    • 51,733 Posts
    • 21,942 Thanks
    grumbler
    2) The LVic cc is the best cc for Europe
    by niff_noff
    I just checked and it looks like LV do not offer CC anymore...:confused:
    EDIT: after some searching I found information (posts #27-29 HERE that LV do not have 'on-line banking arrangements for the credit card'. Only telephone.

    3) If you are over 50, the SAGA cc is the best cc for ex-Europe use (1% withdrawal fee vs 1 month interest @ 1.27% for NW cc)
    YES. Some correction:
    NW CC rates are now 14.9% and 15.9%. For 14.9% monthly rate is 1.16%. If you pay balance in full every month you will pay interest for 1 - 56 days depending on time of withdrawal. If you 'preload' CC you do not pay interest.
    ....but for those who don't want an NW bank a/c...
    Are there any reasons not to want this account? :confused: I never withdraw cash from CC.
    Last edited by grumbler; 22-05-2005 at 5:18 PM.
    We are born naked, wet and hungry...Then things get worse.

    .withdrawal, NOT withdrawel ..bear with me, NOT bare with me
    .definitely, NOT definately ......separate, NOT seperate
    should have, NOT should of
    .....guaranteed, NOT guarenteed
  • J_Tous
    Tip for good exchange rates in London
    I don't know if anyone is still reading this discussion, but if you do have to buy currency rather than use cards and live in London, I have found somewhere with a very good exchange rate.

    I am going to Croatia this week and needed to buy some Euros to pay for the accommodation when we arrive as they don't accept credit cards. I checked out the Post Office and my own bank (Lloyds TSB) exchange rates which were very similar. I was about to go with Lloyds (as you can order it through your online account, commission free, and they deliver it to your local branch), but then noticed a large queue outside a foreign exhange shop. I checked their exchange rates and they were the highest I had seen anywhere. Also they don't charge commission.

    The branch is called Thomas Exchange Global, their branch is at 141 Victoria Street, London very near Victoria train station. Their website is www.thomasexchangeglobal.co.uk (sorry I don't know how to do links) if you want to check the rates.

    For example, today their exhange rate for selling Euros was 1.486 and the Post Office rate was 1.44. I saved about 30 on the 1000 Euros I was buying. They also had unusual currencies so I was able to buy a few Croatian kuna to last me until I can withdraw cash from a cashpoint when we get there.

    I had to queue up for about 10 minutes because it was lunchtime, but it was well worth it!
    Last edited by J_Tous; 16-06-2005 at 1:44 PM.
    • pin
    • By pin 20th Jun 05, 11:02 AM
    • 4,205 Posts
    • 1,484 Thanks
    pin
    I've touted that place on several occasions. It without a doubt has the best rates around I have seen.
    • pin
    • By pin 21st Jun 05, 8:57 PM
    • 4,205 Posts
    • 1,484 Thanks
    pin
    http://travel.independent.co.uk/low_res/story.jsp?story=647488&host=2&dir=3
  • lydiag
    hidden bank charges
    I've found that Travelex consistently offers the best exchange rate - approx. +3% above the median daily exchange rate. Compare this to my bank, LLoyds TSB which typically offers +4.5% and you would think the the choice is simple, especially since Travelex provides an easy airport pick-up option and their customer services is second to none.

    However, LLoyds has been charging/penalising me +1.5% for purchasing my foreign currency somewhere other than at their bank (with no upper limit) - thereby removing all competitive advantages offered by Travelex.

    I've had conversations with Lloyds about this, giving them the opportunity to offer me a more competitive rate, but to no avail. I think it is outrageous that they should be allowed to penalise me for finding a better rate elsewhere!

    I've also since found out that LLoyds has extended this charge to any purchases (cash or otherwise) made in this country using a debit card - i.e. another 1 on top of the charges levied.

    Obviously, putting all payments on my credit card would seem the optimum solution when abroad, but this is just not possible in places such as Italy and Holland where they remain suspicious of card transactions.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

2,924Posts Today

8,404Users online

Martin's Twitter