*Note: This article has been updated
We get loads of reviews at Compare Holiday Money, most are positive but a few are negative and the Post Office has an unequal share of negative reviews; why? Well in a nutshell exchange rates. In other words the rates they advertise online are not the rates you get in-store.
“Rip off exchange rate. Won’t use ever again. Visted the local post office thought I would support the local high street. Still feeling like I have been mugged. The staff said it wasn’t a good rate I should have listened to them and gone elsewhere.”
“Purchased £200 worth of euros and got an exchange approximately 10% less than than travel rate. It seems to get the best rate you have to purchase at least £400 worth of foreign currency. This is not advertised and the staff did not inform us of the extortionate business dealings. Before ordering foreign currency from this establishment check that you are not getting ripped off.”
“Terrible rate over the counter and apparently the rate varies depending on location? ? How can they get away with this rip off Britain once again!”
It is not a problem exclusive to the Post Office it is the same story for most of the big supermarkets and bureau de change, but because the Post Office have so many branches in the country there is usually one near to where you live so they have more (disappointed) customers.
We have posted on this subject before but it is always worth reminding ourselves that generally speaking you must order online to get the online rate.
I tried this out the other day when I visited my local Post Office and saw they had removed the illuminated box from the wall that traditionally showed the latest rates. I enquired at the counter about Euro and US dollar rates for £500 and was presented with a little slip – ‘my quote’ that showed me a rate of 1.0600 for Euros and 1.2400 for US Dollars. Those rates, particularly the Euro rate were staggeringly low compared to the rate they showed online which was 1.1056 for Euro and 1.2700 for USD. And the best rates available on Compare Holiday Money that day were 1.1250 for Euro and 1.311 for USD.
By way of comparison I popped over to my local Sainsbury’s in-store travel money kiosk and had a peek. This time they had their rates displayed on the wall and the Euro rate was 1.0843 and USD 1.2712. Both rates were slightly better for nectar card holders but still well short of their online rates of Euro 1.1118 and 1.2933 which were quite competitive and placed them well up in the CHM tables.
Why do they do this? We’re not sure. We have tried to get answers in the past but so far had no luck. Of course, with any stores or branches there are running costs so that must be a factor, but if they are prepared to sell you currency at a lower rate online for store pick-up it doesn’t really make sense. We would love representatives of the Post Office or Sainsbury’s to contact us and let us know why then we can pass it on!
The lesson is of course that all of the suppliers mentioned are great brands and we all love them and trust them. They all can give great rates and all appear regularly near the top of the comparison tables and offer a first class delivery and collection service, we know that is true but – order your currency online first!