27 Jul Tips For Getting The Best Foreign Exchange Rates In London
If you’re going to London, it’s important to remember that the currency can be quite expensive. Save money as much as possible by following some simple tips to get the best foreign exchange in London.
What Type of Currency Do You Take?
Foreign currency can take various forms, such as cash, travellers’ cheques and credit cards.
Cash is useful for immediate purchases on your arrival in London; travellers cheques are handy for the super-cautious as they have complete protection if they are lost or stolen; and credit cards are the most convenient form of currency.
Understanding Foreign Exchange Rates
Foreign exchange rates change as a result of different events which make the economy in the country holding that currency stronger or weaker. You will benefit when the foreign exchange rate is higher – more of the currency is being sold to you for every unit of your own. For example, if you’re being offered 60 pence to the dollar, that is better than 50 pence to the dollar.
If you are able to monitor such events to predict when you may get more currency for your own money, then this will ensure you get the best rates in foreign exchange.
As well as economic factors, the other variable factor is the venue offering the rate. If you get foreign currency from your own bank, you are more likely to pick up preferential rates.
However, hotels or currency exchange counters in highly concentrated tourist areas are more likely to be selling at a lower rate because they take a commission. Some companies offer commission-free foreign exchange, easily sourced from your country of departure. The downside is that you will get a lower rate of exchange anyway because the exchange rate is always better in the destination country.
The other factor that will affect the cost of your foreign exchange is the type of payment methods you take. Travellers’ cheques are expensive because you buy them with commission included, you usually lose value from exchanging them into the local currency and then a flat-rate handling fee is applied on top when you convert them.
Ordinary credit cards can also be expensive, as you will be charged a foreign exchange rate every time you use your card and a withdrawal fee when you take out money from an ATM. There are specific types of credit cards you can take, however, for use overseas. This is particularly useful if you use it to pay for goods directly, as it will exclude the foreign exchange fees and you may benefit from your bank’s preferential rates.
In short, to take advantage of the best foreign exchange in London, keep an eye on the news or monitor rates and change the majority of your money when preferential rates are evident. Take a combination of cash (covered by travel insurance), half converted in your country of origin and half at the destination, and an overseas specific credit card and you will get the best rates in London.