Airport currency exchange rates are usually unfavourable
Airport currency exchange rates are usually unfavourable

'Rip off' airport currency exchange rates hit new lows against the euro and dollar

The exchange rate is as low as £1 to €0.87 at some airport bureaux de change

Helen Coffey
Friday 24 August 2018 14:40

Airport exchange rates have hit new lows, with the worst offender offering just €0.87 and $0.97 to the pound.

Average airport rates are 14 per cent less than market rate, while some are up to 24 per cent lower, according to data compiled by travel money provider FairFX.

This means that if travellers exchanged £500 at the airport, they could lose up to £108 compared to the current market rate of £1 to €1.109, and £122 compared to the market rate of £1 to $1.283.

Moneycorp at Stansted airport is currently offering the lowest rates on both euros and dollars – its rate is £1 to €0.87 and $0.97.

Southampton Moneycorp, Southend Moneycorp, Manchester Travelex and Heathrow T2 Travelex also fare badly for buying euros, offering rates of £1 to €0.89, €0.91, €0.92 and €0.92 respectively.

When it comes to dollars, London City Airport Travelex, Manchester Travelex and Southend Moneycorp are best avoided, with respective rates of £1 to $1.056, $1.057 and $1.057.

“Time and time again we’re finding that airport exchange rates are ripping holidaymakers off with scandalous rates which mean they end up with a lot less holiday money than they could get elsewhere,” says Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of FairFX.

“Exchange rates will always fluctuate and it’s no secret the pound has been on a bit of a rollercoaster in recent months, but it seems regardless of whether the market rate is good or bad, airport currency exchange desks continue to offer significantly lower rates to holidaymakers.

“The margins airport exchange desks are putting on the market rate aren’t consistent, either. We’ve investigated rates across all bank holidays this year and the margin is always different.”

The story comes after The Independent revealed that “dynamic currency conversion” is ripping off unsuspecting British holidaymakers.

The scheme increases the cost of using credit cards abroad at the expense of the traveller.

Hotels, restaurants and shops are incentivised to persuade UK visitors to settle credit card bills abroad in sterling. While travellers may be attracted by the certainty of knowing the cost in pounds, the option is usually offered at a derisory exchange rate.

At a time when sterling is trading at very low rates, a handsome profit margin is shared between the trader and the financial intermediary.

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