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Brits could be losing £790 million in hidden foreign exchange fees on winter breaks  

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28/11/2018
With the weather increasingly gloomy, Brits may be tempted to head off to sunnier climes, but new research suggests they might be spending more than they need to on their holiday spending money.

The Fight Overseas Fees campaign says Brits may be losing as much as £790m in hidden foreign exchange fees on winter breaks.

The research shows that Brits collectively spent around £14.5bn on foreign currency during their winter holidays last year. 24m Brits went abroad and spent an average of £600 each. The research asked 1600 Brits about their winter holiday plans and how they exchange foreign currency, and analysed the results against typical exchange rate mark-ups from the most popular banks and high street holiday money providers.

It showed holiday money providers advertise the transaction as ‘free’ or ‘0% commission’, but their fees are hidden in the exchange rate. This amounts to an average loss of £30 per trip.

It showed two-thirds (60%) of Brits still exchange holiday cash at the bureau de change, their bank, travel agent or the Post Office before departure. These are generally the most expensive ways to change money.

Martyn James, Money Expert & Spokesperson at Resolver, said holidaymakers have a range of options: “My advice is to check with your bank before you travel about the costs. Ask them about the fees and the exchange rate they use and compare it to the real rate you see on google. Always avoid getting your foreign currency or changing money at the airport and think twice about using a high street bank debit card for spending abroad as the cost to use it each time adds up.  Open an online account with challenger banks in a few clicks to easily track your spending with the real exchange rate via an app.” Apps such as Revolut or WeSwap are also an option.

The survey found that half of Brits (51%) have been on a winter holiday abroad in the last 3 years at an average cost of £710. Spain is the most popular winter holiday destination for Brits, followed by France, the US, Italy and the Caribbean

The Fight Overseas Fees group aims to put an end to hidden fees and claims of ‘fee free foreign currency’. It may be possible to reclaim unfair charges – check fightoverseasfees.org.

 

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