Today’s guest blog is courtesy of David Abrahams, founder of Mytravelmoney.co.uk. His tips might be useful for you:
I’m very grateful to the Five Star Greece team for inviting me to post on a topic that has become somewhat of an obsession. Around four years ago, I was holidaying around Europe & got totally ripped off on my travel money. We’re talking horrific exchange rate galore & overcomplicated card charges. So, armed with an international management degree and vision to clean up foreign currency, I launched MyTravelMoney.co.uk.
In today’s post, I’ll aim to provide 4 key ways to maximize the value of your holiday cash. With a few simple steps, you’ll get the best euro exchange rates on your next trip to Greece.
0% commission is a marketing gimmick
First and foremost, we should all ignore those signs that proudly proclaim ‘‘we offer 0% commission.’’ Treat this as a marketing gimmick and study closely the exchange rate alone. What distinguishes between a good or bad holiday money deal is how much of a markup is added to the ‘‘real exchange rate.’’
Buying currency online works out overall cheapest
Each week, our roving web editor Sofia does a mystery shop. We compare the travel money exchange rates offered by the banks, high street & online suppliers. Our findings have been truly startling. On average, it’s nearly 10% more expensive to buy foreign currency at the airport versus online. In real money terms, this means you could be losing £250 on every £2500 exchanged. Poor.
On a brighter note, buying currency online can be extremely convenient. The process is simple – book online and foreign currency is delivered to your front door the next morning.
Beware of dynamic currency conversion
Dynamic currency conversion is a sneaky ploy that is adopted by many retailers & restaurant owners on the continent. If you are asked to ‘pay in euros’ or your ‘home currency, e.g. pounds’ always opt to pay in euros. Otherwise, the retailer will apply his own markup, leaving you out of pocket by up to 4%.
Haggle at the currency counter
As we’ve covered, the world’s worst place to exchange foreign currency is airport bureaus. Airport rent is extortionate, and unfortunately, these costs are passed on to the captive customer via poor rates of exchange. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even if you do leave it to the last minute, don’t be afraid to do a bit of good old-fashioned haggling. As a test, we tried this a fortnight ago and were shocked to find out the lengths currency cashiers would go to win your business. Don’t settle for the first deal you stumble across.
Have a fantastic holiday & thank you to the Five Star Greece team. Keep delighting your customers with the best in class Greek villas!
I respectifully disgree with the comment that buying on-line is cheapest! It’s also the most dangerous unless you use bona fide banks. I brought 42k pounds of euros 3 years ago and the company I used went bust as soon as they recieved my money and so far I have got back 2k so far better to go through your own bank and dont pay too much heed to inetrnet exchange companies
Freddy Johnson · October 7, 2013 · 1:33 pm ·
I often use Travel FX to buy holiday money online. Never had an issue & funds delivered to front door each time. Sorry to hear your experience there Freddy. I did vet the company very carefully though before purchasing
Marc Blakeson · October 7, 2013 · 8:57 pm ·
Really sad to read that story. Was the £42k a money transfer or travel money transaction? Just before we started our comparison site, we saw the news about Crown Currency Exchange (who you may have used?). From that point on, we ensured every FCA regulated company we listed on both sites were: a. authorised and regulated by the FSA (now FCA), operated segregated client accounts to protect client funds, have at least a 5 year track record of being in business & have the highest degree of strong banking relationships.
The vetted procedure we have with every new comparison site is fierce as our motto is ” we’d only list a company we’d use ourselves.”
For sure, reputable non-bank foreign exchange specialists are the overall cheapest & offer fantastic cost savings & I truly believe in 2013 there are many very reputable, reliable and safe foreign exchange companies out there.
Co-Founder MyTravelMoney & MyCurrencyTransfer
Daniel Abrahams · October 10, 2013 · 11:15 am ·