Getting the best euro exchange rate on your credit card
If you're planning a holiday to Europe, then you'll want to make sure that you're getting the most for your money when you exchange currencies. We'll help you find the best ways to get the best Euro exchange rates so that you don't lose out on any money when you go away.
In This Guide:
Where to get the best rates
Foreign exchange rates will vary greatly depending on how and where you actually exchange your currency.Bureaux de Changes
Bureaux de changes tend to offer the least competitive rates available. They are, however, arguably the most convenient way of changing Sterling into Euros.
If you do decide to change your money at a bureaux de change, it's important to shop around as rates are not uniform throughout the market. With a bit of effort you'll be able to find somewhere offering good rates and charging little to no commission on any currency exchanges.Online Euro Exchange Rates
If you want exchange rates that are slightly better than those you'd find on the high street, then looking online is a good idea.
It is less convenient than going into a bureaux de changes and walking out minutes later with cash, as you'll often have to wait a few days for the money to be delivered to you securely. However, if you've got the time to spare, then changing your currency online is a good way to get great deals. MasterCard/Visa Exchange Rates
Arguably the most convenient way to spend foreign currency is to just use your credit card abroad, where your sterling will be converted according to Visa and MasterCard's standard exchange rate. Their rate is generally only about 1 cent above the interbank exchange rate for Euros meaning that, at least before transaction fees, you'll be getting a great deal.
Most conventional credit card issuers, though, will charge you fees for using your card abroad, both for transactions and withdrawals. For this reason, it's important that you get in touch with your card provider to find out exactly what you will be charged for and how much.
There are, however, several cards on the market designed specifically for overseas use that charge no fees on any transactions and simply allow you to spend Euros at the Visa/MasterCard standard exchange rate.
Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees
Before you look into Euro exchange rates online or at a bureau de change, you might want to think about special credit cards with no overseas transaction fees.
These cards often come with some of the best deals available on Euros by following the Visa/MasterCard daily exchange rates.
It is worth bearing in mind that with these cards, the waiver on foreign transaction fees tends to only apply to card purchases; you will still be charged for withdrawing money from an ATM.
It is also important that you pay off your balance as quickly as possible if you do take out one of these cards. Issuers of cards that don't charge foreign transaction fees will generally hike up their interest rates in order to offset the loss they are making by allowing you to spend Euros at no extra cost.
Compare credit cards with no overseas transaction fees by using Money Expert's comparison service if you want to see what kind of deals and interest rates you could be enjoying.
Pre-paid currency cards
Another option is to take out a pre-paid foreign currency card that you load cash onto before you go away. Once money is loaded onto a pre-paid card you can use it in exactly the same way as a conventional debit card, spending in shops and withdrawing from ATMs.
The exchange rates you’ll get with a pre-paid currency card will vary from issuer to issuer. Some will use the standard MasterCard/Visa exchange rates; some will charge rates comparable to the most competitive online rates and some at rates similar to bureaux de changes.