Which? reveals best and worst currency exchange ratesWe help you find the best travel money deal
12 October 2016
You could be more than $100 worse off if you exchange £500 using an uncompetitive travel money provider, according to new Which? research.
Following last week's 'flash crash' in which the value of the pound dropped to a 31-year low, we gathered exchange rates from 51 travel money providers.
The best deal, offered by online providers Thomas Exchange UK and Best Foreign Exchange, would get you $608.75 for £500. The least competitive deal, from Moneycorp at Bristol airport, would get you just $500.95.
Using an uncompetitive provider to exchange £500 into euros could also leave you more than €65 worse off, according to our research.
Find out more: How to find the best travel money deal - see our advice guide
Online currency exchange rates
To get the best travel money deal, use a competitive online provider.
We found that online rates are typically much better than you'd be able to get if you went to a high street currency exchange without pre-ordering.
Thomas Exchange UK and Best Foreign Exchange offered the best rates out of the providers we looked at. However, if you're looking to collect your currency in store, bear in mind that these providers only have branches in central London. They also both charge additional fees for postal delivery.
John Lewis Foreign Currency offers competitive exchange rates, and it's possible to ‘click and collect’ for free from John Lewis or Waitrose stores.
|Online exchange rates|
|Travel Money Provider||US dollars for £500||Euros for £500||Delivery charges||Click and collect available?|
|Thomas Exchange UK||$608.75||€546.75||£10||London only|
|Best Foreign Exchange||$608.75||€546.75||£4.90||London only|
|Thomas Exchange Global||$606.50||€525.50||£4.90||London only|
|John Lewis Foreign Currency||$608.55||€546.55||n/a||Selected John Lewis and Waitrose stores|
|Best Exchange||$605.00||€543.75||£7.50||London only|
|ICE||$603.65||€542.40||£4.75||London and selected UK train stations and airports|
|ICICI||$603.15||€542.05||£5.00||Eight UK branches|
High street currency exchange rates
We also looked at the rates offered by eight of the most commonly used high street travel money providers.
When exchanging £500 at Debenhams, you'd get $597.50 or €535.50. That's $17.50 or €15.50 more than you'd get at the Post Office.
Nevertheless, all the high street providers we looked at offered better deals than airport providers.
|High street exchange rates|
|Travel Money provider||US Dollars for £500||Euros for £500|
|Marks & Spencerb||$596.90||€531.40|
Airport currency exchange rates
Avoid exchanging currency at the airport unless it's absolutely necessary.
Each of the 10 airport providers we looked at offered inferior rates compared to most online and high street providers.
Moneycorp at Bristol airport was the worst of the bunch. You'd get just $500.95 or €481.55 when exchanging £500 there.
Six of the 10 airport providers we looked at were offering less than one euro per pound.
If you're keen to collect the currency in the terminal, at least pre-order it online first to benefit from a better rate.
With Travelex, you can often do this up to four hours before you arrive at the airport (on a range of currencies). Moneycorp recommends ordering 24 hours in advance. With ICE, you can instantly order a 'voucher' to present in-branch.
|Airport exchange rates|
|Airport||Travel Money provider||US Dollars for £500||Euros for £500|
Credit cards for overseas use
There are many credit cards on the market which charge no fees for overseas transactions or ATM withdrawals.
These cards, or a competitive prepaid currency card such as Revolut, could be a good option to consider if you regularly travel abroad.
The Which? Money Compare credit card tables let you search for cards from providers large and small to choose a great deal based on quality of service as well as cost and benefits.
Which? Money Compare table - credit cards for spending abroad - find a great deal
- Prepaid cards - currency cards reviewed
- UK's best and worst airlines - we compare user experiences
- Which? Money Helpline - have your queries answered by money experts
Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.