How does buying travel money work?
You can either buy your travel money online or in branch at a bank, building society, travel agent, bureau de change or participating supermarket, or from the Post Office.
Exchange rates are constantly changing, and travel money providers often offer different exchange rates – some better than others. Some will also charge commission for changing your money – always check and factor it into your calculations.
It’s wise to compare travel money deals to get the most for your holiday spending money. MoneySavingExpert's travel money listing tool helps you find great deals.
Why buy travel money online?
Buying your travel money online typically means better exchange rates than in-branch because of the reduced overhead costs involved. There is usually a broader range of currencies available online.
How does buying travel money online work?
You can either choose to enter how much cash you have in GBP, or how much cash you need in the foreign currency. The site will then calculate how much of the opposite currency you’ll receive, and apply any charges or commission, giving you a final price.
You can then pick whether you want your travel money delivered to your home (you may be charged a fee), or whether you want to pick it up from a local branch.
How do you pay?
Use your debit card to pay for the foreign currency you want at the exchange rate the provider is offering for that day.
How does commission work?
Companies often charge a commission to exchange sterling into a foreign currency. The commission might be a percentage of the transaction or a flat fee, but it should always be included in your cost comparisons.
Some travel money providers won’t charge a commission fee (a commission-free exchange). This can mean that the exchange rate they offer isn’t as competitive as other deals. So, it’s a good idea to compare the total cost you’d need to pay and the foreign currency value you would get if you exchanged with one deal over another.
If you’re worried about having leftover currency at the end of your holiday, some providers offer a buy-back guarantee. This means they will buy back your leftover currency from you at the same exchange rate that you bought it for and won’t charge a commission.
How to get the best travel money deals?
Different places will offer different exchange rates so it’s important to compare travel money deals to get the most for your holiday spending money. Here are our top tips:
- Consider the overall cost: Don’t just look for the highest exchange rate, take commission and delivery charges into consideration
- Pay with your debit card: Try not to use your credit card as you may incur extra fees
- Organise your travel money in advance: Shop around for travel money comfortably your trip so you can compare deals and make the most of free delivery options which take longer to arrive
When you use MoneySavingExpert's travel money listing tool, you can compare ordering and delivery options including all charges (fees and commissions). There is also a separate tool that will show you which travel money providers can offer you currency buyback.