HSBC offers poorest travel money dealWide guld between exchange rates

22 December 2011

Travel money

You'll generally get a better deal via currency providers than banks

New Which? Money research has found that high street banks HSBC and RBS/NatWest offer some of the poorest rates for home-delivery currency exchange, on both dollars and euros.

Over a month period, Which? Money analysed the exchange rates for US dollars and euros provided by the largest foreign exchange outlets that offer currency for home delivery.

To exchange £600 into US dollars, ICE Home Delivery offered the best deal; on average $35 dollars more than HSBC. Travelex, FairFX and Tesco Travel Money offered the next best rates, all within $3 difference of ICE.

Free delivery from most providers

Most providers, with the exception of Thomas Exchange and FairFX, offer free delivery for amounts above £500, charging between £3.95 and £5 for amounts lower than £500.

The Post Office, the most popular foreign exchange outlet among Which? members, came in the middle of the group of foreign exchange outlets we tested. Halifax Travel Money was also in the middle group and did better than the other banks in our survey.

Debit charges on currency to be scrapped

Foreign currency providers generally charge a fee of around 1.5% to pay by credit card, some with an upward cap of £25.

In a separate move, it was announced earlier this week that debit card charges for buying foreign currency in the UK are to be scrapped. Holidaymakers have been hit with debit card charges when buying foreign currency at UK bureau de change.

Banks have now agreed that they will no longer impose debit card charges for purchasing currency or travellers cheques while you're still in the UK. However, the new system is unlikely to come in for another year.

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