Can you sell unused currency during the lockdown?

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Many people would have booked foreign holidays, trips and weekends away for the spring and summer period that have been cancelled or changed because of the current travel restrictions. And because of this reason, lots of people would have bought their currency in advance especially as the exchange rates were very good at the start of the year, and now find it’s no longer needed.

If you were one of those people that bought your travel money in advance and found your trip was cancelled, you have 2 options: Keep it safe until you do go away, particularly if your holiday has been rescheduled. Alternatively, you may wish to sell it back and exchange back to pounds sterling so you can use the money straight away.

Buyback Rates

At the start of the crisis in March, when the travel restrictions were first put in place, many people tried to exchange their unwanted currency and the market closed down for a little while.  Suppliers will normally resell the currency they have bought back from customers but when travel restrictions were introduced they couldn’t sell it so they effectively stopped buying. Banks and wholesale currency exchanges also closed their doors so the market came to a standstill.

By the end of March it was difficult to find a company that would buyback euros or US dollars and in fact, only a handful of middle eastern currencies were being exchanged.

However, since that time just like panic buying in the supermarkets, things have settled down a little and we have seen more and more companies buying back currencies of all types including euros and US dollars. However, there is still uncertainty and the types of currency you are able to sell changes from day to day.

At the time of writing, If you have currency you wish to exchange then you should be able to compare a few companies to find a decent rate for most currencies including the popular ones. It’s true that you won’t get back what you paid, that’s the nature of the business, but we have seen rates starting to climb steadily again over the last few weeks.

Euro buyback rates for example, mirrored the sell rates and were at a high in mid-February of 1.201 before dropping to a low point of 1.068 on March 18th. Since then rates have improved with the market and you could get around 1.194 mid-April.


On Compareholidaymoney we will only show buyers for currencies that we have a rate for, so if you click on to a currency and there are no companies listing it’s because no one is buying that currency at the moment. It’s worth checking back from time to time to see when buyers become active again. As restrictions begin to ease across the world and in the UK then the markets should return to normality pretty quickly. And, hopefully, we will all be clambering to buy currency once again for our well deserved holiday!

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

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