How to make your travel money last longer.
No-one likes getting burnt by excessively harsh bank fees while overseas and we all want to make the dollars, yen or pesos last a little longer. You can do something about the twin worries of running out of money and the charges your bank may apply for accessing sterling from within a foreign country. Here are our top 3 tips:
- Get a specialist credit card for overseas use.
If you prefer to pay with plastic, rather than carry a wad of foreign currency, you need to obtain a card that doesn’t apply a “foreign loading fee”. If the card you choose also provides protection against buying faulty items via “Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act” so much the better. Which? Money see here Credit cards for overseas spending show a selection of cards that tick this box. Remember to clear the balance when you return home within the “free” period.
- Obtain a pre-paid card.
Think of the Oyster card people use on the London underground: you “load” it with a few pounds and then tap in/out without touching cast. Pre-paid cards work in the same way, pay-as-you-go. The exchange rate is established at the time you load the card and (so long as the currencies match one-another) there are no further foreign exchange fees. There are loads of this type of card around, and to mention five, take a look at Sainsbury’s Bank, Co-op, Moneycorp, Revolut and the good old Post Office.
Exchange rates yo-yo; most people don’t pay much attention, but if you know you’re heading overseas within the next six months, then it’ll pay you to obtain one of the cards mentioned in number 2, above and then watch the rates. Right now, for example, the pound is not doing well against the dollar (approx 1.42) compared to a few months ago when it was trading at approx 1.55. That’s equivalent to £13 extra for each £100 you buy. It’s impossible to predict exchange rates, and the best advice is not to be greedy: set a figure you’ll be happy with and as soon as the exchange rate hits it, purchase the currency.