AIRPORT MONEY EXCHANGE RIPOFF
Travellers hit in the wallet as SterlingEuro rates drop to a new low
TRAVELLERS are being hit in the wallet as Sterling currency exchange rates at airports hit a new low against the Euro.
Holidaymakers departing from the UK have been offered a deal as poor as €0.87 for every £1 at airport bureaux de change.
And at arrivals at Alicante Airport on Saturday evening, the bureau de change greeted passengers touching down for a break in Spain with an offer of just €90 for £100.
Sterling’s values against both the Euro and the US Dollar has been hit since the Brexit referendum in June 2016 and continues on a ' rollercoaster' journey according to foreign exchange experts.
The market rate for Sterling has hovered around the €1.10 to €1.11 for some days; the tourist rate is traditionally a couple of points lower, depending where a deal is struck.
Travel money provider FairFX says its research data shows an average airport bureau exchange rate is 14% less than the market rate; yet some offer an eyewatering 24% less.
City commentator Bloomberg advises travellers to be wary. It said: “Airport currency rates are usually unfavourable.”
However, Ian StraffordTaylor, of FairFX, used more colourful language. “Time and time again we’re finding that airport exchange rates are ripping holidaymakers off with scandalous rates which mean they end up with a lot less holiday money than they could get elsewhere.
“Exchange rates will ways fluctuate and it’s no secret the pound has been on a bit of a rollercoaster in recent months, but it seems regardless of whether the market rate is good or bad, airport currency exchange desks continue to offer significantly lower rates to holidaymakers.”
The chief executive officer added: “The margins that airport exchange desks are putting on the market rate are not consistent either; we’ve investigated rates across all bank holidays this year and the margin is always different.”
Using a UK credit card abroad can also hit finances. Shops, restaurants and hotels often ask a customer whether they would like to pay in Ster ling or Euros.
People may be attracted to paying in pounds because of the certainty of knowing the cost, particularly when Sterling is strong – however, they can be hit with a much lower exchange rate and the euro option is frequently cheaper.
CBNews spoke to an insider working in the foreign exchange industry who advised people to “plan ahead” and make sure they had bought euros in advance.
He said rates offered at airports were always going to hit travellers in a highly competitive business; not least because the companies running the bureaux also had to factor in a premium rent paid to the airport authority.
And he said when moving larger sums of money to always use a specialist dealer, which usually beat the rates offered by high street banks.
When going on holiday or escaping for a short break, he said a prepaid currency exchange card offered ' very appealing' rates – but even a trip to a Marks and Spencer bureau or the Post Office would pay cash benefits.
“The reality is do not exchange money at airport bureaux de change – if really necessary, perhaps just enough for a cup of coffee or a taxi fare,” he said.
“It really is a ‘ distressed purchase’ at an airport when you suddenly panic and think ‘have I got enough for the taxi?’ It is so easy to get Euros in advance.”
Tourists in Benidorm exchange offices were yesterday (Thursday) getting €1.095 for £1