The end of term is on the horizon. Easter is fast approaching and if you’re going away for the holidays, now is the time to order foreign currency to avoid getting ripped off at the airport.
There are all sorts of pre-loaded currency cards available now which offer great deals. The Minted family travels with Revolut, for example. It works like a debit card which you top up with your mobile phone. Because the exchange rate it offers is pretty much what banks charge each other, there are big savings to be made (see my previous blog here).
However, as it’s managed online, you’ll have to wait to get to the ATM in your destination before you can get cash. For those of us who like provision in advance, where is the best place to get cold hard notes in your hand before you fly?
I decided to check out a couple of new services against what’s on offer at the trusty old Post Office. There’s WeSwap which is a whizzy new website and mobile phone app. It delivers the fully insured cash to you for free if it’s over £750 or there’s a charge of £6.50 for less. Alternatively, you can pick up the money from its branches in London or from your local Doddle (Amazon delivery spot) store. You can get a Mastercard debit card preloaded with foreign cash too.
Secondly there’s Travel Money Club. Launched in January, it claims to have the “best exchange rates in the UK” but, when I compared, Revolut had a slightly better deal. There’s also an obligatory delivery charge. If you become a member, paying £60 for the year, all delivery is free. You can pay £5.99 a month or a one-off fee at £4.95.
Then there’s the Post Office where you can just queue, order online for click and collect, or get free home delivery if you’re buying over £500. For less than this, it’s £4.99.
How did they compare for buying £1,000 in euros on rates at 1:43 pm yesterday when I looked? Here are the (surprising) results.
1. WeSwap: £1,000 bought £1,129.42. Delivery free.
2. Travel Money Club: £1,000 bought £1,131.10. But with the minimum obligatory delivery taken off that’s £1,126.15.
3. Post Office: £1,000 also buys £1,131. Delivery free.
Amazingly, Post Office comes out on top. I was gobsmacked since in my own experience, I’ve always found Post Office rates to be rubbish. It could be because there’s a special sale on at the moment. Until 8 am on Wednesday 28 March, there's improved rates on euros, US and Aussie dollars, UAE dirham and New Zealand dollars. After then it might not be top of the pops so even more reason to get your skates on and go P.O. for your Easter holiday cash.
PS: Can anyone tell me the location of the famous hotel in the photograph? Answer will be put on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/skintedmintedmum in the next few days.
See our SMM guide to travel money here.