Where Do You Change Your Currency?

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  RichHI1 22 Sep 2011
at 09:47

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  • Anonymous


    As a frequent traveller I need to change money pretty regularly.

    I am a fan of M&S Bureaux de Changes when in the Regions, but Tesco guarantees to beat them apparently.

    Today I just changed some US Dollars.

    Interbank rate is about $1.654/£1. My usual provider was unavailable today, so went off to Wardour Street and an excellent small BdC I have used previously was able to offer $1.64, with which I was very pleased as elsewhere the best rate seemed to be $1.62.


    I have a Nationwide Current account. This comes with a Visa card, where you can withdraw cash through any Visa network in most countries you travel.

    Various articles in The Times over the last few years, still place this at one of the best values for direct currency withdrawal, & i think it is a safe option.
    Looking at my statements over the last 5 yrs, I have received the Banking not the tourist rate for cash out, no commission, & received 10-15% more for my £…not that its worth much these days!
    Against most currencies such as the UAE Dirham, Aus $, Thai Baht even, it is between 15-30% less value.

    Therefore if you can save say 10% using this method its worth trying out maybe?


    I also use a Nationwide debit card abroad but also use Thomas Exchange Global as they seem to have the best rates in London –



    I have always tended to use a debit card and withdraw cash through an ATM, in countries where I had been before and had at least enough for a bus/train/cab from the airport, having found my local bank and Travelex gave poor rates. Even if there is the usual card fee the rate can be much better than the tourist rate still producing a saving.

    Now I tend to go to a local BdC which gives a really good rate and no commission, when going to a country I have not visited or have run out of enough cash.

    Those of you with the Nationwide cards, my wife had hers retained by the ATM in the UAE and my brother-in-law’s partner, they live there, has had her Nationwide card retained on a number of occasions.


    Something worth knowing on this matter – I was advised to notify my bank prior to any trip to the Far East, to avoid having Visa cards blocked due to the prevalence of fraud.

    I duly contacted my bank (one of ‘Big Four’), who told me that I could register two countries for travel. They also informed me that had I not done this, their Fraud Department would have blocked the cards immediately after their first use in an ATM (not if I’d used them to pay a hotel bill, but possibly they would also have been blocked if used regularly for small purchases in shops, depending on the pattern).

    I am travelling to three countries on this trip, so I have to call my bank on arrival in Country No. 3 to extend the registration to include that country.

    My comments on this arrangements are that it is good in that it clearly adds additional customer protection. The down side is that I would not have known this had I not telephoned the bank on the basis of a friend’s advice, with the possible result that my card may have been retained by an ATM, with disastrous consequences for the rest of the trip.

    I should also add that another friend of mine has recently returned from Malaysia and had all kinds of problems in getting his PIN code accepted in a number of hotels (and I think that may have been a Nationwide card).


    I bank with one of the big four banks and regardless of phoning to advise them of going away i have had problems both in Europe and USA with having my card blocked. But since stopping phoning and advising them prior to travel (working on the theory that it will get blocked anyway and i will still have to call them) i have never had a problem.

    With regards to where to exchange money i am currently looking for the best rate for US$ and i will check out your place Vintage Krug as that is a better rate than i have seen in the last few days.

    The other option i have been considering is getting a pre-paid money card (www.moneycorp.com) and wondered if anyone has used one?


    The problem with a pre-paid card is when hotels pre-authorise an amount and, invariably, it takes up to 30 days to clear. If you’re travelling a lot, you can end up having a sizeable proportion of your ‘real’ balance actually unobtainable.

    Mind you, this pre-authorisation is a potential problem whatever card you use. I tend to use a debit card on my business account, keeping the credit balance relatively low, in case of any fraud. I then top it by regular but relatively small amounts by internet banking whenever I need additional funds, allowing for the gradual releasing of funds that have been pre-authorised by hotels.

    I was amused by the comment about the card working better if you don’t advise your bank that you’re travelling – there’s an analogy there with getting your bags back last if you have priority tags (see recent posts on this subject elsewhere in the Forum).

    Regards to all and good luck with accessing your funds!


    I personally use Money Corp at the airport. But they do sting you for what they can…

    Use the Post Office for better rates or look online at mail order companies.

    Better still for the best rate against the pounds wait and buy your currency abroad….


    The Post Office in the UK seems to be the best I can find although you may need to warn them for the less common currencies.


    $1.58/£1 today at 22 Wardour St.

    Not bad considering an interbank of 1.596 when I last checked.


    How come it takes Sky News over two years to report an item debated on this thread and others on tbe BT form 2 years prior.

    Tom seriously man, BT should not let the likes of Sky News ponce of our forums IP.



    I generally follow the rule whereby if your home currency is stronger that the destination currency, then it is cheaper to change when you arrive at your destination.


    I find travelex online amongst the most competitive (though ensure that you do not do through BA exec club as different rates and do not do at airport without pre ordering). Also the “number one” currency shops are not too bad.


    I have recently learned that BA travelex will match other online rates;so you can get BA Miles/Avios Points and still a decent rate.

    Though without the guarantee I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole:


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