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Barclays to launch Travel Wallet this summer

Written by: Emma Lunn
The bank’s current account customers will be able to buy euros and US dollars direct from the Barclays banking app – but the exchange rate is not yet known.

Barclays is adding a Travel Wallet feature to its banking app later this summer. The feature will allow Barclays current account customers to exchange money from their current account into euros or US dollars. They can then spend the foreign currencies abroad using their existing debit card without being charged foreign exchange fees.

Once launched, Travel Wallet will automatically appear in the Barclays app. To use the feature, open the Barclays app, go to the ‘Cards’ section under ‘Quick Links’ and tap ‘Create Travel Wallet’, and select whether you want a euro or a US dollar wallet.

You’ll then be able to securely exchange money, as and when you need it, from your current account into your selected currency. You’ll be able to see exactly how many euros or US dollars you will receive in-app before you make a conversion.

You can spend as normal with your Barclays debit card in the local currency without being charged extra fees for card transactions. Simply spending abroad on your Barclays debit card, or withdrawing cash, normally incurs a foreign exchange fee of 2.75 per cent.

If you use Travel Wallet, Barclays will not charge any additional fees for using ATMs overseas or limit the number of ATM withdrawals you can make abroad. There are no fees for Travel Wallet card transactions or converting remaining currency back into British pounds after a trip. More currency options will be added in the future.

Gillean Dooney, head of current accounts and travel money, said: “The build up to a trip abroad is stressful enough without worrying about finding the time to get currency, let alone knowing how much you need to take out.

“Travel Wallet means you can strike this consideration off your holiday list and simply exchange what you need, when you need it into either euros or US dollars keeping just as much control over your money when you’re abroad as you would at home.”

Compare exchange rates

However, Barclays hasn’t stated the exchange rate Travel Wallet will use, so at the moment it’s impossible to say whether it will offer customers a good deal.

Holidaymakers should look for a credit, debit or prepaid card that uses the interbank exchange rate which is the dynamic rate at which banks swap currencies between one another. Revolut uses this rate and doesn’t charge extra for card usage abroad.

Rival digital bank Monzo uses the Mastercard exchange rate which is a fraction less favourable than the interbank rate but still significantly better than most of the big banks’ rates. It doesn’t add on any additional fees or charges for use overseas although free cash withdrawals overseas are limited to £200 a month – after that there’s a 3 per cent charge.

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