Belfast Telegraph

Money matters: Buy now to lock into great rate for holiday

By Simon Read

Your holiday plans could have been affected if there had been a less than decisive outcome to the election. The pound's recent strength against the euro could have been hit by economic uncertainty, had things worked out differently. But if you buy euro now, you could lock in near record high rates.

One travel expert reckons you could save a tenner for every £100 spent abroad by planning ahead.

Bob Atkinson of TravelSupermarket says the cheapest way to pay abroad is plastic, but not any plastic. "Look for credit and debit cards designed for usage overseas. The market-leading deals - such as the Halifax Clarity credit card and Norwich & Peterborough debit card - have no hidden currency loading fees or transaction fees.

"Compare that to the worst option, to rock up at an airport and buy euro without pre-ordering. You'd spend about 10% more at somewhere like Heathrow. That's like throwing away £10 for every £100 you spend on holiday," he said.

His view is backed by Andrew Hagger of

"The cost savings make it worth carrying a specialist card along with your passport whenever you travel outside the UK," he says.

Most banks add a foreign usage fee to credit card cash and purchase transactions, he explains.

"It's around 2.75% to 2.99%, but on top of the usage fee, most credit card cash withdrawals will cost you around an extra 3%, so an ATM withdrawal of £100 currency equivalent can easily set you back a combined charge of around £6."

Debit cards are no better. As with credit cards there is a usage fee of up to 2.99% for cash plus an ATM withdrawal charge of up to a fiver. "Debit card purchases are subject to the usage fee, plus up to an additional £1.50 per transaction regardless of the amount."

Belfast Telegraph