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Airports offer €0.88 for £1: how to get a better rate

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
11/10/2016
Holidaymakers should avoid exchanging currency at the last minute as some airport bureaux are now offering less than one euro to the pound. at airports after research reveals the worst offenders offer just €0.88 to the pound with the US dollar near on parity.

Airports are taking advantage of their captive audience and “escalating their efforts to profiteer”, with the worst offender –  Moneycorp at Southamoton airport – offering just €0.88 to the pound, according to research carried out by FairFX on Monday.

This means that airport providers are effectively charging holidaymakers as much as 26% commission for the convenience of buying travel money at the last minute

The survey found the average rate offered across 16 UK airports was €0.99 and $1.08 – compared to live market rates of €1.111 and $1.239.

The table below shows the rates being offered for the euro:

ymoney-euro-airport-table

The table below shows the rates being offered for the US dollar:

ymoney-dollar-airport-table-us

FairFX warns holidaymakers that planning ahead is the only way to get the best value.

Ian Strafford-Taylor, chief executive of FairFX, said: “It’s no secret that airport exchange rates aren’t the best. They’ve got a captive audience and once you’re there, you usually have no alternative. However, we’re seeing rates offered by airport providers reach shocking new lows in what can only be described as downright scandalous.

“Travel money can often be left as a last minute purchase on the holiday checklist but it pays substantially to plan in advance, and certainly not running the risk of leaving it so late that the only option is the airport.”

How to get the best value

Here are FairFX’s top tips to get more foreign currency for your pound:

  1. Follow the pound where it’s at its strongest: If you’re open-minded about holiday destinations, you can save considerably by visiting places with a favourable exchange rate.
  2. Plan travel money ahead: Set up a currency alert so you can buy when the rates are in your favour. You can lock-in rates by loading a prepaid currency card which will help protect against any future falls and can be used abroad without paying costly credit cards charges.
  3. Once you’re abroad, beware of the double exchange rate dupe. If you let the seller in a shop or restaurant convert the price back into pounds, they will choose their own exchange rate and you’re more likely to be on the less favourable end of the deal. This can add as much as 10% to your bill.
  4. Debit and credit cards are good back-ups but you can often be hit with unnecessary fees and don’t have control over the exchange rates. Consider a prepaid currency card which is free to use in shops and restaurants and you can top it up at any time.
  5. Don’t leave changing money to the last minute. You’ll miss out on better rates and end up paying significantly more at the airport. With the fall in the pound over the last week, it’s more important than ever to seek out the best value for your money.

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