Stretch your Holiday Money Further

Travel Talk

Take your holiday money further Make the most of online offers by keeping a few simple tips in mind when buying your foreign currency and stretch your hard-earned cash even further.

Reconsider how you pay

Thanks to technology we’re no longer limited to just travellers cheques to pay our way when travelling abroad. With more convenient and cost effective methods now available, make sure you’re not spending money unnecessarily on exchange rates, transaction fees, transfer costs, etc. Consider “purpose-built” products such as prepaid currency cards which allow you to load funds in advance at competitive exchange rates and can simply be used like a debit card when abroad without further transaction or exchange fees. (Some providers charge an ATM fee for withdrawals)

Don’t get caught out by pre-authorisations

When checking into a hotel, hiring a car or even filling up at some petrol stations, vendors will typically process what is known as a pre-authorisation. No money is actually taken off your card at this point but funds are effectively ring-fenced to cover them against non-payment, so funds are therefore not available to spend. Pre-authorisations like this can be large and remain in force for up to 21 days, sometimes even after you’ve settled your account. Therefore, consider using a credit card to “guarantee” transactions and only use your prepaid currency card or debit card to settle the account upon departure.

Pay in the local currency!

Some merchants may give you the option to pay in a different currency other than the denominated card currency to make your payment. Make sure that you always select the local currency. For example, if you are in the Eurozone, and you are given the option to pay in Euros or Pound Sterling, make sure you select Euros. If you permit the merchant to convert the amount back into Pounds they will choose their own exchange rate, generally a poor one, and you will be paying for two unnecessary exchanges.

FairFX Pre-paid Mastercard Consider a Family & Friends Card

A few prepaid card providers offer a “Friends & Family card” which links accounts and allows users to manage funds from one ‘pot’, whilst benefitting from the control and security of multiple cards. Consider this for managing kids’ spending money on holiday, kids travelling abroad on their own, sharing funds with a partner or simply to ensure you have a backup card.

ATM withdrawal Limits

Many cards, whether debit or prepaid have daily ATM withdrawal limits. Check these before you travel as your card could be blocked for ATM use if you exceed these limits. You probably want to avoid carrying too much cash anyway, so pay with your card where possible and try to limit your daily ATM withdrawals.

Make the most of technology

With many highly competitive rates and providers now operating solely online, turn to the web to stretch your Pound. Ensure the provider is FCA Authorised and then choose one that meets your needs. Some also offer mobile apps, such as the FairFX app which allow you to top up your prepaid card, transfer money or check your balance whilst on the go.

John and Jennie Duckworth John and Jennie Duckworth, both in their mid-60s, regularly travel to the US and now that they’re retired, go there at least once a year. They paid their way with cash and travellers cheques when they first started travelling, but John found the travellers cheques quickly became burdensome.

Using a currency prepaid currency card allows them to stay on top of their expenses as the balance can easily be monitored and topped up. They manage their money carefully by taking up good deals and being smart about hidden fees and charges, which allows them to travel more extensively now that they have more time on their hands.  

This article is brought to you by FairFX, specialists in travel cash and currency cards.

Special Offer

Follow this link for more information on FairFX currency cards and get a FREE card when you load a minimum of £50* through this page.

*New FairFX customers only.

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