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Airport kiosks giving below a pound per euro

By Claire McNeilly

Published 22/08/2016

Northern Ireland holidaymakers flying to foreign climes via London are being warned to stock up on euros before leaving
Northern Ireland holidaymakers flying to foreign climes via London are being warned to stock up on euros before leaving

Northern Ireland holidaymakers flying to foreign climes via London are being warned to stock up on euros before leaving.

That is because bureaux de change at two major airports in Britain are now offering a paltry 99 cents for a pound - significantly below the market rate.

Moneycorp at Stansted will give you just €0.9915 for a pound, while the International Currency Exchange (ICE) at Luton gives a miserly €0.990.

Most exchanges in Northern Ireland trade at a rate more in keeping with the €1.15 a pound is worth at current rates.

Experts have said the fact that holidaymakers are being offered less than a euro to a pound reflects the huge mark-ups that they are being charged by airport operators. But they have also accused companies of taking advantage of the falling pound since the Brexit vote to increase their profit margins.

In the middle of April ICE was offering 10% below the market rate, but the rate at Luton this week was 14% lower, according to FairFX, an online bureau de change.

Holidaymakers can get much better deals on foreign currency online or on the high street than at airports. Yesterday, PostOffice.co.uk was offering €1.1331 per pound to customers who changed more than £500 - up from €1.258 on Wednesday.

Marks and Spencer's rate was €1.1331 per pound for card holders, or a standard rate of €1.1257 - while Debenhams was offering cardholders €1.1338 and non-cardholders €1.1288.

Yesterday, customers changing holiday money at ICE at Belfast International Airport were getting €1.0143 for every pound, while those shopping at Travelex UK Ltd at George Best Belfast City Airport got €1.0288.

Taking out money at foreign cash machines is also cheaper than changing it at airport kiosks. The pound hit its lowest level in three years against the euro at the start of this week.

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