Part III Name and shame the worst of the worst!
You and a friend go out to buy your Euros for your holiday. You both spend £750. You come back with €897 and your friend gets €928. You have to admit that that hardly seems fair. Where did the other €30 go?
The answer is into Natwest’s pockets. National Westminster bank lost £153Million in the first half of last year and they need to get that money back from somewhere and the easiest option is their customers.
The high street banks are not interested in handling small (to them) amount of cash, they are all about multi-million pound deals on the stock markets rather than a few hundred Euros over the counter. Nat West are not alone, RBS and Barclays are really nt much better when it comes to offering decent Euro exchange rates (or any currency for that matter).
There is another issue to bear in mind. If you walk in off the street whether it is a bank or the Post Office and pick up £750 worth of cash then you are a prime target for oppunist thieves. If we use the shocking example of John Jukes as an example (but his case was in no way unusual). Mr Jukes attacker followed him from the Post Office where he had just collected £3000 worth of Euros and then attacked him and stole the money. Most people do not walk aroudn with thousands of pounds in cash on them but when you are collecting your travel money from a post office that is exactly what you do. In a large busy post office it is probably fairly easy to hang about and wait until they see someone checking they have recieved the right amount of cash and the either mugging or bag snatching their victim.
I don’t see the supermarkets or shops as such a risk. Most peoople expect you to be giving the shop money, not the other way around. A supermarket would be a strenge place for an opportunist mugger to hang out.
The FCO on their travel advice site always suggests you avoid using cash point machines on the street to withdraw cash. You are better off going into a bank to use a cash machine so you can safely stow it away before going back on to the street. That is good advice but it can never stop you being the victim of a mugging.
I don’t want you to get ripped off by the banks but I don’t want to see you get beaten over the head by a mugger either! Whereever you decide to buy your travel money you must take sensible precautions and make the best decision for you.