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Mark UK

Money, money, money

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Dear all,

We’re hoping to visit the UK for the first time in nearly four years this summer (finally!!!). However, I was wondering how to transfer money to pay for things such as hotels and car rental and such. We have US debit/credit cards but I’m loathe to use them very much over there as I’m sure they will take their chance to add all sorts of lovely fees and criminally poor exchange rates.

I have a UK bank account and credit card which I could transfer the money into from a currency exchange such as HIFX. My plan is to take a certain amount over in cash that should take care of some expenses, but things like hotel bills will need to be paid with a credit card. As such, I was planning to pay the credit cards off when I got back, that way I didn’t have to transfer too much money over there to my bank account and then have to pay to transfer it back again. I presume I would have to have warn my credit card company as I haven’t used the cards in some time.

How did anyone else handle money on their trips back to Blighty?

Mark

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Kris and I just got back from the UK (loved it!) on our own visit. We paid for the bulk of small items with credit card. What he also did is take a good amount over in cash and hit the currency exchange building in his town. Was easy and fast. We were lucky enough to have family to stay with although we did rent a car which was paid for with a UK credit card.

Enjoy the trip. We can't wait to go back to visit and move eventually :)

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Check with the bank who holds your debit card account and ask what their fees are for using the card overseas. Many times you will find the fee is less than the 'premium' you would pay for currency exchange across the pond.

Once abroad, if you are selling dollars, I'd suggest selling to the banks in town versus currency exchange houses. I've sold dollars both ways, and fared much better at a bank.

Third option - buy sterling before you go on xe.com. I don't think I need to give you the big lecture about carrying loads of cash. You're a grown-up. :P

NEVER buy sterling or euros in the airport. You'll get robbed blind.


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You can order money or pounds rather from your bank ...thus take cash. I use my credit card simply because I am to prone to losing things. Good luck.


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My credit union charges a 1% surcharge for foreign transactions and the current exchange rate...I guess it didn't seem so bad to me. Actually, I got some mail a while back about a class action suit against credit card companies for excessive exchange fees, so things may have changed since you checked last.

Our solution in the future is that Nik has just left his savings in Pounds in his old bank account. It's useful because he can do the 3rd class NHS contributions without worrying about exchange rates, and when we go visit we don't have to think too hard about this very subject.


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Dear all,

We’re hoping to visit the UK for the first time in nearly four years this summer (finally!!!). However, I was wondering how to transfer money to pay for things such as hotels and car rental and such. We have US debit/credit cards but I’m loathe to use them very much over there as I’m sure they will take their chance to add all sorts of lovely fees and criminally poor exchange rates.

I have a UK bank account and credit card which I could transfer the money into from a currency exchange such as HIFX. My plan is to take a certain amount over in cash that should take care of some expenses, but things like hotel bills will need to be paid with a credit card. As such, I was planning to pay the credit cards off when I got back, that way I didn’t have to transfer too much money over there to my bank account and then have to pay to transfer it back again. I presume I would have to have warn my credit card company as I haven’t used the cards in some time.

How did anyone else handle money on their trips back to Blighty?

Mark

Here is what you should do my friend:

Book your hotel and car rental through a US company (such as expedia, orbitz, hotwire). This way, you will not only get excellent prices but also your credit card will just be charged in US$! hence completely eliminating the need for lovely credit card fees.

It is extremely unwise to use a US credit or debit card in any foreign country for the below reasons:

1) Crappy exchange rates

2) Foreign transaction fees which can be upto 4% of EACH transaction

3) High chance of identity theft and bogus charges if you use them at shady places as they know these cards are from US

For everyday expenses, I recommend getting a Travelex debit card (its available from all major US airports). You put a certain amount of money in it and bam your exchange rate is locked, there are no transaction fees and there is no chance of identity theft. Plus if there is any unused money left when you return, you can get your US dollars at the same rate as you used to purchase the UK pounds!

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For everyday expenses, I recommend getting a Travelex debit card (its available from all major US airports). You put a certain amount of money in it and bam your exchange rate is locked, there are no transaction fees and there is no chance of identity theft. Plus if there is any unused money left when you return, you can get your US dollars at the same rate as you used to purchase the UK pounds!

Interesting.

Can you withdraw cash from it at ATM's in the UK?


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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Wales
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Here's my experiences and suggestions. I've been to Wales 4 times in the last 15 months, and I recommend using your debit card (after verifying their international transaction fee). I read up a lot about this before my first trip on forums such as frommers.com and fodors.com and the majority recommended using ATMs for the best rate.

1. Debit card - I use a local bank (M & I bank) here in the U.S. where I got my Visa debit card issued. You get the best exchange rate (basically you get the rate on xe.com - the going exchange rate). It is the best rate I experienced during my trips. My debit card issuer charges a 1% tran fee. (So, this recent trip I got an exchange rate of right about 1.50 dollars to the GBP). When I used Lloyds banks ATMs (just because that's my fiance's bank over there and we were near them), I got the 1.5 rate from the ATM. I pulled out 200 GBPs for right about $300.00 and then got a $3.00 fee.

2. Credit card - next best choice. (Might be the first choice if you have a capital one credit card because they do not charge international transaction fees from what I've seen). They give you the current best exchange rate, but most will charge you a 3% fee.

3. Selling US dollars to get GBPs. When going to any walk-up counter, or even the bank and handing them a wad of US$ - you will pay a commission. I was confused because it would say "commission free" but the rate was $1.66+ So, I gave over $160 and got 93.xx GBP's. In the ATM...if I would have pulled out 100 GBPs with my credit card...I would have got the $1.50 rate...I would have paid just $150 + $1.50 and got 100 GBPs...I gave $8.50 more in US dollars and got 7 less pounds. I think the commission is about 5%.

Enjoy your trip!


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I would add that depending on your bank, you may be eligible to withdraw pounds without an ATM fee. For example, I use Bank of America and they are partnered with Barclays, so I don't pay any fees that way...


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Interesting.

Can you withdraw cash from it at ATM's in the UK?

Absolutely and guess what there are no atm fees either.

The only catch which I forgot to mention in my earlier post is you have to put down atlest $1000.00 to qualify for the card. But hey its your money, you can take it out any time, and there no balance maintaining or monthly fee services.

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xe.com is what i've been using for the past two years -- US bank account > UK bank account. I have exchanged thousands. they have pretty much the best retail spread you can get, though obviously still not as good as the interbank spread that institutional exchanges get..

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Scotland
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Just remember if you use your personal debit card, you MUST MUST MUST notify your bank or they will lock it down for fraud!

Also, I highly recommend taking some form of cash. I didn't realize how bad I wanted a soda and couldn't get one without any cash!


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Just remember if you use your personal debit card, you MUST MUST MUST notify your bank or they will lock it down for fraud!

Not necessarily true, but a good precaution. It has never happened to me since I relocated back to the US. However, I did tell both my banks when I set up the accounts that I travel frequently to Europe. I assume a notation was made because I have never had to notify either bank when travelling abroad since.

Also, I highly recommend taking some form of cash. I didn't realize how bad I wanted a soda and couldn't get one without any cash!

Okay, maybe I'm being thick, but isn't that what bringing a debit card is partly for -- getting cash? I never get any cash before I go abroad -- the rates in the US are usually atrocious and it is such a hassle to get the bank to order it.


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