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Money Travel Guide

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Money Travel Guide

MONEY TRAVEL GUIDE 

The majority of us can only afford, or have the time to go away once a year, this makes it even more important to gt the best price available when you’re changing your money into a foreign currency.

Getting the best deal means yo often spend less on charges and commission and more on holiday treats.  Whether you decide to take a prepaid currency card, cash, credit card or traveller’s cheques, below are some ways of getting the best deals on your hard earned money.

SHOULD I PAY IN STERLING OR EURO?

Always say ‘no’ to a sterling bill – instead demand to pay in the local currency.

  • Paying in euros. As you’re charged in euros, your home bank or credit card company does the conversion for you.
  • Paying in pounds. This choice is known as ‘dynamic currency exchange’. What it means is when paying or withdrawing cash on a card, you can opt for the conversion on the hoof.In other words, rather than your home bank, the foreign bank (or the store’s bank if you’re buying something) does the currency conversion for you.

KEEP ON EYE ON THE EXCHANGE RATE

Get into the habit of looking at the exchange rates as they can and do fluctuate daily. This will give you a greater idea of what a good value exchange rate is..  Today´s EXCHANGE RATE in Benidorm can be seen here

Credit cards

Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere for purchases and cash withdrawals. A credit card charges a currency conversion fee, plus a cash advance fee for withdrawals, plus you’ve got the interest rate building up on any withdrawal.

Fees

Cash advance fees in particular can really put a dent in your travel budget, so avoid them unless it’s an emergency.

Some companies don’t charge interest if you pre-load enough money to your account, so check with your card provider.

Watch out for dynamic currency conversion

When paying with a credit card abroad, the retailer may (or may not) give you the option to pay your bill in your own currency, rather than the local one, using dynamic currency conversion.

While this is convenient, as you can get an idea of the value of your purchase, it comes at a price. You’ll be charged a higher exchange rate for dynamic currency conversion, which isn’t worth paying.

The retailer might automatically use dynamic currency conversion unless you say not to, so it’s best to check your bill carefully before signing anything or entering your PIN. If they have used dynamic currency conversion, ask to be billed in the local currency instead.

Travellers’ cheques

They probably seem a little outdated now, given most of us have credit and debit cards, however some people like to carry traveller’s cheques as a back up since, unlike cash, they can be replaced by the provider if lost or stolen. If you don’t use them, some foreign exchange providers will refund the cheques at no extra cost. Be sure to keep a record of the serial numbers (in a separate place to the cheques) so you’re protected in the event of loss or theft.

Fees

Check the fees and commissions that apply. Depending on where you buy traveller’s cheques, they may cost more than cash due to the insurance that’s built in. Check if a second set of fees will apply when you go to cash the cheques in overseas banks and exchanges. Also find out where you’ll be able to exchange the cheques. Remember it will cost you the same to cash 100 pounds as it will to cash 10 pounds.

Prepaid travel money cards

These Cards are offered by major banks and by money exchange companies like Travelex. Before leaving, you pay money into the card account and you use it for purchases and cash withdrawals as per a debit or credit card. For foreign currencies you can “lock in” your exchange rate (including the exchange rate margin – see below) when you load money onto the card. These cards can be replaced if lost or stolen.

Fees

A major difference between pre-paid cards and debit/credit cards is their fees. Some costs aren’t immediately apparent, such as margins built into the exchange rates applied to transactions. While you won’t pay an annual fee or interest, you may pay:

  • exchange rate margins when you load and close the card – these are not specifically disclosed by the providers and vary from day to day,
  • fees to load the card – either a percentage of the total or a flat fee,
  • ATM withdrawal fees,
  • an exchange rate conversion fee when you use the card – varies between providers, and
  • further fees if you reload or close the account.

The small print As with all cards, make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions, including the fees.

In general, this popular type of travel money relies on a hefty exchange rate mark-up when loading money onto pre-paid cards. Portability and convenience can easily be offset by the exchange rate margin and a confusing array of other fees – so be especially vigilant when considering one of these.

Also, be sure to have the right currency loaded on the card, since card issuers may charge two percent per transaction – or more – for using currencies not loaded on the card.

Ordering currency online

More companies these days are happy to arrange a foreign currency exchange over the internet. On-line services are convenient, but check out the delivery times and costs. Some firms can arrange next day delivery of the currency, but there might be a delivery charge. A number of companies charge for delivery only if you exchange a small amount, say under £500 – and you might be able to avoid the delivery charge completely if you can pick up the currency from a local branch. So be sure to explore all the options.   Some banks and building societies provide special rates for existing customers.

Insurance limits

Remember not to take too much cash abroad as it can easily be lost or stolen. There will also be a cash limit on what you can claim on your travel insurance policy, which means you will be covered only up to a certain amount. For example, if the cash limit is £250 and a thief makes off with your wad of £500, the policy would only pay out £250, minus any excess (which itself could be £50 or £100).

ATM and debit cards

Most banks, building societies and credit unions offer ATM cards that can be used for international purchases and cash withdrawals. Unlike credit cards, which offer interest-free days, the debit card transaction is deducted straight from your bank account and you won’t be charged interest for cash withdrawals unless you overdraw your account.

Always try to use the ATM machines at the main banks and not ones dotted round town, as their fees will be higher.

Fees

Some will charge up to 3%, some 0% check with our provider so make sure there are no restrictions on purchases overseas, let your bank know you are in another country.

There are accounts with no fees though, so check your bank or building societies policy.

SCAM – The ATM SCAM

Leftover currency

You might not expect to return from your trip with any leftover currency, but you never know. It’s therefore a good idea to find out if the company charges commission to buy back the foreign currency. The exchange rate will also be different, so again it can pay to shop around.

 

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Julie GreenHazel EdgarRory Newell-BrownJacky SmithCarol Beck Recent comment authors
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Lynne Caton
VIP Member
Lynne Caton

Revolut Card – Great for buying things but just be careful if your wanting to withdraw a lot of cash as they do charge after €200 not sure how much tho
But so simple to use & upload money when needed then switch off when not in use & get immediate text with what you have spent

Carol Beck
VIP Member
Carol Beck

I have used a Revolut card this year and love it
If you lift more than £200 your charges £2.75 but that’s still less than my bank charged me last year when I used my normal bank card
I love the way you get a message immediately telling you what you’ve spent you can upgrade to a premium card which you pay a monthly fee but then the benefits are better like no charge for lifting more than &200 and travel insurance etc
Great card

Jacky Smith
VIP Member
Jacky Smith

We used it for 3 years all over Europe and a lot of it in Benidorm. Don’t know what we would have done without Revolut, saved us a fortune in bank charges on withdrawals. We never had a problem anywhere in Benidorm using it. Just like any other debit card.

Rory Newell-Brown
VIP Member
Rory Newell-Brown

You can use the Revolut card anywhere you want, if it accepts Visa you’re fine. Exceptions include: Onboard the aircraft. As their systems aren’t live so they can’t take the card and know if it’s got sufficient funds. (Where as most banks cards guarantee the payment) Petrol pumps as they initially withhold €100 deposit and refund what you don’t use once you have filled up. Have used mine in shops, restaurants (independent ones) and it works anywhere that any other card normally works. I just top it up in sterling, and then every time I spend on my Revolut it… Read more »

Hazel Edgar
VIP Member
Hazel Edgar

Your debit…credit card will be higher charges ….if using an ATM…press NO conversion…or you will incur extra charges as well as a bank charge……always always.pick the EURO..

Julie Green
VIP Member
Julie Green

Use atm at a bank with a card. Make sure you choose no exchange when asked as you get a better rate then..if your with Santander withdrawal is free.

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