AIR­PORT MONEY EX­CHANGE RIP­OFF

Trav­ellers hit in the wal­let as Ster­ling­Euro rates drop to a new low

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Troughton

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.”

Photo by Irena Bodnarec

Tourists in Benidorm ex­change of­fices were yes­ter­day (Thurs­day) get­ting €1.095 for £1

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