Travellers urged to confirm currency requirements, use cash-cards

One-tenth of holidaymakers are unsure of the legal currency at their destination and carry the wrong currency especially when travelling on holiday to European countries, according to a survey by the International Currency Exchange (ICE).

ICE plc, a UK-based foreign exchange and prepaid currency card provider, has conducted a survey of 2,000 people who went on holiday in August. The agency is now urging holidaymakers and travellers to double-check the legal currency in use at their destinations and not to assume that any European country will accept euros, according to traveldailynews.com. Travellers to Euro destinations are also urged to use a fee free and secure prepaid currency card, such as the ICE Travellers Cashcard, to avoid confusion.

Tom Johnson, head of ICE Online Business said: ‘It’s easy to assume that if it’s Europe it must be euro.

‘It’s even easier to assume it’s euro if it’s an EU country. But currently only 17 of 28 EU members have adopted the European currency, creating some currency confusion for travellers. ‘

For example, while Poland is part of the EU, the currency currently in use in the country remains the Zloty, not euros. Similarly, despite being in the EU, Denmark and Sweden both use their own form of the Krone, while Finland use euros. Croatia, the latest country to join the EU, is currently advising travellers to take both euro and Kuna.

Johnson said: ‘Wherever holidaymakers are heading, it’s important to do some research on the local currency. The Eurozone may seem familiar territory, but it still has some surprises up its sleeve and holidaymakers can get caught out. Order the right currency before leaving the UK, preferably online to obtain the most competitive rates and to avoid additional charges incurred through ATMs when using debit and credit cards abroad.

‘Travellers to Euro destinations can also consider a fee-free, prepaid currency card such as the ICE Travellers Cashcard, as a more secure and convenient way to pay for goods and services than carrying cash.’

The ICE Travellers Cashcard is a fee-free, PIN-protected Mastercard prepaid currency card that claims to offer travellers a secure and convenient method of payment overseas. Provided with a free back up card if the first is lost or stolen, the card has no ATM charges, no penalty fees, no fees for topping up and offers 1 percent cashback on all point of sale purchases.

British Travellers Pay More to Use Pounds Abroad

British travellers are losing out on monetary transactions when holidaying abroad, due to poor skills in converting currency, according to new research.

Around 15 percent of British holidaymakers are not confident in their currency conversion skills while holidaying abroad, according to the survey of 2,000 British adults, conducted by YouGov, a UK based organisation that canvasses public opinion. The shortcoming is even worse for women, as 20 percent of those surveyed admitted to not having confidence in their maths for currency conversion.

Around 40 percent of British travellers, or 20 million adults, opt to pay for goods in British pounds, using their debit or credit cards, instead of paying in the local currency of foreign countries. This results in them paying over the odds, due to poor exchange rates and credit card charges.

James Hickman, the managing director of Caxton FX, said, ‘The number of people getting caught out by DCC has actually increased in the past year and a lack of understanding about the risk of associated charges seems to be at the heart of this.

An extra 4 percent charge on every transaction could add up to some serious cash over the course of a two week holiday and some rather surprising bank statements upon return to the UK. However, DCC is a perfectly legal charge so it’s up to the individual to make sure they are not being caught out by this.

Using your debit card abroad could expose you to a charge from your bank on every transaction, on top of a less than favourable exchange rate. Additionally, using ATMs at the destination airport or changing money at your resort are some of the worst options for consumers. Usually, the exchange rate will be very poor and each withdrawal can cost upwards of GBP1.50!’

 

Where not to buy your travel money

As summer holidays approach, Facebook (which is expected to be valued at $100bn following an initial IPO) is being used by travellers to warn each other about where not to get travel money.

A recent campaign started on a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/fairfx) has resulted in many cost-conscious holidaymakers posting photos of poor exchange rates at various locations. The biggest culprits to-date include bureaux de change at Gatwick and Heathrow airports as well as overseas locations like France.

Stephen Heath, CEO at FairFX.com said: “It’s interesting to see this development in the use of social media effectively providing more transparency for consumers in a marketplace which is sometimes confusing.”

“Recently, we’ve seen many travellers voice their dissatisfaction and uploading photos of the rates onto our Facebook page. So far, the worst rate we’ve seen was offered by a travel money booth at Gatwick Airport – $1.48 for £1 when the mid-market rate was over $1.63 – that’s £50 profit for every £500 exchanged.

“Perhaps the use of social media sites like Facebook will finally shame airports into doing something about this raw deal. In the meantime, many savvy travellers are pre-purchasing their travel money using prepaid currency cards which provide much better value and convenience.”