Airport currency – the lost millions

Airport currency exchange facilities in departure lounges are the perfect emergency service for holiday procrastinators. But with 24hr internet access, is there any excuse for wasting your hard earned money by leaving currency exchange until the last minute?

Too busy?

Procrastination is something most of us have dealt with at one time or another. Usually brought about by time constraints it plays havoc with our holiday decision-making processes. Most of us try to overcome its effects by employing a list to organise our holidays. Accommodation and flights typically head the list. With the less critical elements such as airport parking, arranging currency and travel insurance regularly appearing at the very bottom. However, more often than not they remain forgotten until the very last minute, which is generally in the airport departure lounge.

Are they bad?

Airport currency facilities such as currency exchange booths or ATM’s burst into view in the departure lounge to take advantage of our procrastination. A psychological state which can have a severe impact on our mental health as well as our finances. And it does, year after year. Holidaymakers, consistently panic-buy, making unnecessary dents in their holiday budgets. Millions of pounds are wasted annually through last-minute currency purchases in UK airports. Collected through poor exchange rates and commission charges, onsite currency exchange providers are profiting from our lack of personal organisation.

The main airport currency providers will say they cannot match the online rates because of the charges they have to pay. In response to many reviews from unhappy customers Moneycorp themselves say “Our margins are higher at airports due to the significant costs associated with operating there. To secure better rates, we always recommend pre-ordering”

What is the solution?

Pre-paid multicurrency cards like Lyk, WeSwap, Moneycorp Explorer or Travelex Money Card, could provide the solution if you know that leaving everything to the last minute is a personal trope. They allow simple, easy money transfer top-ups over the phone or internet. And most card providers don’t charge for transactions or ATM fees. However, there is a downside. Ordering a pre-paid card takes a certain amount of pre-organisation.

If arriving in a foreign country without a pocket full of local currency isn’t a concern, and you haven’t got a pre-paid card. Then a credit card is the next best last-minute option. But find an ATM operated by a legitimate bank if you can and avoid the airport ATM’s which don’t offer ideal exchange rates. Stay clear of using debit cards too, as hidden charges will give you a nasty shock when you return home.

What’s the answer?

There is only one answer that will save you money I’m afraid. Don’t procrastinate! Be organised and don’t forget the minor details. Save yourself a fistful of dollars in just a few minutes and order your currency online.

Posted by Sam Stone

Sam Stone

Sam has been involved in the creative arts industries for over twenty-five years in both France and the UK, working with a variety of specialised businesses and publishers. She is a freelance writer, whose work includes travel blogs, web content and script writing.

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