Sunday, 18 September 2011

Buying travel money online

Have you ever tried buying foreign currency online? At first glance foreign currency exchange rates look really great online, but are they really so competitive?

It's a job in itself to find the best place to get your money exchanged for travel cash. Thankfully by going online you can get the job done quicker and see for sure if you'll beat the high street and get a better rate.

If you've left exchanging your cash to the last minute you'll want an easy and quick way to buy your travel money. Getting it online is both those things, and you'll find that most providers will deliver your travel cash direct to your door, with no commission.

Here's a quick guide to buying your foreign travel money through an online provider.

1. Do your sums
Check the small print! You don't want to blow your hard earned holiday money before you arrive at your destination. So do the math (and yourself a favour) and establish what the total amount to pay is. How much commission are they charging, and what about delivery? To help you make your decision you can compare all the rates and total cost online.

2. Make sure you don't have to pay delivery fees or commission
Using the internet to get your hands on that travel cash only pays if you're exchanging a substantial amount. Most online providers of foreign currency will charge handling and delivery fees if you don't order a minimum amount. The amount varies, but it's usually about £500 GBP. Make certain that the foreign currency you want qualifies you for a free delivery and they scrub the handling fee.

3. The delivery of travel money must be insured
The provider should automatically insure your delivery of foreign currency, but you should check. Almost all travel money companies will require you to sign for the delivery and will not deliver to anywhere except your home or work address. Some travel money providers will want proof that it's you who has actually made the order, so don't be alarmed if you receive a phone call after you've committed the order.

4. Be careful of credit card fees
Be aware of credit or debit card charges as these could hurt the good deal you've found. Cash advance charges could amount to 3%. As soon as you buy using a credit card your credit card provider will charge you interest, so watch out. Fees aren't normally applicable if you use a debit card, but it's prudent to check with your bank first. Some banks can charge up to about 2%.

5. Ensure you are available to take delivery of your travel cash
You'll need to sign for the delivery which normally takes one or two days. Make sure you know when. Avoid having to make arrangements to get your foreign money delivered again.

Buying travel money online is a rewarding and easy way to get your hands on foreign currency, but it's vital to make sure the provider is a reputable company. Nothing regulates the foreign exchange market, so make sure you've researched extensively. If the provider ceases trading you won't be able to get your money back.

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