Airport travel money charge mark-ups over 25 per cent

Today’s article in the Express highlights now poor the airport exchange rates can be with Moneycorp offering just €0.885 on Monday. That rate was widely reported this week when it was spotted at Southampton Airport. On CompareHolidayMoney we have not yet seen an online Euro exchange rate drop below the one for one mark although the high street banks are getting close.

Order In Advance

The essential message is to order in advance. The Express pointed out that the airport bureau de change operate on a 25% mark-up to cover things like having to operate staffed offices from before the first flight in the morning until the last flight at night. The question is, why should you have to pay a premium just so they can run their business? I was in Keflavik International Airport this summer and they didn’t have staffed booths, they just had a multi currency cash point machine.

Captive Audience

The real reason the currency suppliers want these in airport offices is because you are a captive audience and you have no choice once you reach that point. If you need your travel money then you need to buy it then or get an even worse rate on the plane.

No Competition

Funnily enough there is never any competition between the rates offered by the different airport desks either. In a major airport you can see desks for ICE (International Currency Exchange), Moneycorp, Travelex as well as a few others but they do not compete on rates. If that happened anywhere else there would be calls for an investigation into trading cartels. At smaller airports you get a choice of one desk and that is it, no choiuce at all there. Then again if they are all going to collude on the rates what choice do you get at any airport?

Going Away This Autumn?

If you know anyone going away this autumn or winter then just prod them and point out that not buying their travel money in advance is literally going to cost them 25% of their entire holiday budget. That is no laughing matter!

Posted by Peter Rudin-Burgess

Peter Rudin-Burgess

Peter is one of the founding partners for both Compare Holiday Money and Currency Buy Back. He regularly blogs on financial matters and writes content for a number of blogs in the travel industry.

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