Buying foreign currency
If you’re going abroad, it’s a good idea to take some holiday money with you in the local currency to pay for essentials like food and drink, tips and taxis. To get the best deal, compare travel money prices online and buy it before you go.
Where to buy travel money
Getting your foreign currency in advance can help you plan an affordable holiday as you’ll have time to shop around and avoid the uncertainty of changing exchange rates.
Banks, bureaux de change, the Post Office, some travel agents, some larger supermarkets, other shops, specialist websites and foreign exchange brokers all sell foreign currency.
You can either pick it up in person, or arrange for it to be delivered. You’ll often find the best rates when you order currency online but there are some drawbacks.
- You’ll pay a charge of around £5 for delivery, unless free delivery is offered.
- You’ll need to be at home to sign for it when it arrives, though they may deliver to a work address.
- You may not be given the option to choose which notes you want – it’s often useful to have some smaller notes when you arrive to pay for things like tips.
Depending on where you buy your currency you may get it delivered for free if you order more than a certain amount – typically over £500.
Get the best deal on travel money
The exchange rates and the fees you’ll pay for buying your currency will vary between different providers. Get the best deal on your money by following these simple steps.
- Buy it in advance – the bureaux de change at the airport, train stations and ferry ports are more expensive than high street and online providers.
- Shop around for the best deal – use currency exchange comparison websites to find the best deal. They can show you how much you’ll get for your money once the exchange rate and any charges have been taken into account. TravelMoneyMax.com from Money Saving Expert or MoneySuperMarket.com are good places to search for the best deal.
- Buying foreign currency in the UK with a debit card is treated like any cash withdrawal or purchase and should not incur any extra charges.
- Buying foreign currency with a credit card means may be charged interest, even if you pay off the amount in full each month. You might also face extra charges and fees from your card and travel money provider.
Other ways for paying for things abroad
Find out the best way to pay for things while you’re abroad in our guide below.