Many of us overlook organising our holiday money.

We either get it in a rush at an airport travel-exchange desk or just use our day-to- day plastic abroad. But this could be costing you a lot more than you think. Buying your currency at the last minute could cost you as much as £80 more per €1,000 due to fees and poor exchange rates. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to cut the cost. If you prefer to spend on plastic when you are abroad then you need to watch out for overseas card usage fees. Many credit-card providers will charge you as much as 2.99% per purchase when you use your card abroad. To avoid this, your best option is Halifax’s Clarity credit card. It charges no foreign usage fees on purchases and it uses the MasterCard and Visa exchange rate, which is only fractionally higher than the spot price – the rate at which banks exchange currency between themselves.

If you prefer simply to use cash machines when abroad, check the fees first.

Most banks charge more for withdrawing cash abroad – up to 2.75% per withdrawal. The best debit card for holiday use is Norwich & Peterborough Building Society’s Gold current account card. It has no cash withdrawal, transaction charges or handling fees. But you will have to have opened Norwich & Peterborough’s Gold current account first and deposit at least £500 monthly.

The third option is a pre-paid card. You load them with money before you go then use them like a credit or debit card while you are abroad. The two main players in this market are FairFX and Caxton FX. FairFX’s card charges no fees on purchases but a €1.50 fee per euro cash withdrawal, whereas Caxton FX has no cash machine withdrawal charge, but its exchange rate is slightly worse. If you are going to buy a pre-pay card be careful how you do it. FairFX charge £9.95 when you register the card, but you can dodge that if you buy via

If you leave your currency plans to the last minute but want to take cash with you, order it online. Even if you only order the day before and collect it from a Travelex desk at the airport, you will still get a much better exchange rate than if you simply buy it direct at airport.

Jonathan Willis is a media originator, publisher, author, property developer, film & TV executive producer, script and copywriter, entrepreneur and financier.

Jonathan wrote two books, the first of which was brokered to a publisher in days, and the second title based on auctions, around which he developed a publishing business on Fleet Street, sold 286,000 copies in six months. Subsequently, Jonathan has created many popular consumer and business magazines and books, and his advertising copywriting skills have led to the creation of several thriving private companies and 3 plc’s. His property publications have serviced 40,000 UK subscribers per month. He currently has in hand the development of 2 spa hotels on the idyllic island of Koh Phangan, Thailand, two holiday parks (in Spain and Portugal) together with a villa complex in Morocco.

Johathan’s latest project is The Ideas Factory:

Our goal is simple – to promote the healthy exchange of ideas within a friendly forum of like-minded entrepreneurs and investors.

Through a combination of regular newsletters, live events and website updates, the Ideas Factory keeps its members informed and abreast of outstanding and timely business, property and other investment opportunities, whilst also providing an informal forum for people to get together to form business partnerships and lifelong friendships. You can download the latest copy of The Ideas Factory Magazine here:



0 10