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using the hole in the wall abroad?

(12 Posts)
mckenzie Mon 11-Jul-11 21:44:47

i went to get some euros today from Sainsbury with the intention of using our credit card for meals and the hole int eh wall if we need more cash. I was told though about a service that they now offer where I 'buy' euros at today's rate and put them onto a card that i then use at the hole in the wall for no fee. So I'm locking in to the exchange rate today rather then being at the mercy of Nationwide , who use Visa's exchange rate, on the day I withdraw the money.

Has anyone used this service? It seems like a good idea to me. No??

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Jul-11 22:37:54

I have a Mastercard like that with FairFX for business travel. I load it with Euros and then use it as a debit card when I'm in the Eurozone. There are no charges for straight purchases and no surprises from spot exchange rates either. Have never had difficulty using it. At a cashpoint I get charged €1.50 for a transaction so if you're being offered free cashpoint withdrawals that sounds like a very good deal.

You could cross-check the Sainsbury exchange rate with other prepay cards

mckenzie Tue 12-Jul-11 09:50:55

thank you. i shall take a look

Ponders Tue 12-Jul-11 10:15:28

Nationwide use the commercial exchange rate, not the tourist rate - it's actually higher. When we were away earlier in the year the tourist rate was around 1.10 & Nationwide ATMs got us 1.13. They do now charge 2% + £1 on top but it's still a better rate than many.

Also locking in today might lose you money if it goes up a bit (it does happen!)

moneysupermarket has inf on prepaid cards (2nd tab) & also on different currency offers

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 12-Jul-11 10:35:46

On the problem of 'locking in' and the exchange rate moving against you, you don't have to buy all your currency in advance. My card allows me to top up either online or via my mobile and the funds can be used within hours. I start the trip with enough to get me through the first day or two and then add as required.

Ponders Tue 12-Jul-11 10:43:16

Out of interest I just looked at a few of the currency offers on moneysupermarket & (for amounts over £500) they range from 1.107 to 1.110; the commercial rate today has fluctuated between 1.143 & 1.132.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 12-Jul-11 11:15:25

FairFX offering me today €1.175 to the £1. Do I win smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 12-Jul-11 11:16:03

Oh dear...spoke too soon £1.1175. That middle '1' very important smile

Ponders Tue 12-Jul-11 20:15:05

it does make a bit of a difference, Cogito grin

(remember when the rate was about 1.40? sad)

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 12-Jul-11 20:34:12

Sighs.... yes... my frequent trips to the continent were pretty lucrative with bargains. But I rarely bother bringing anything back these days because there's not much difference in price. The rate seriously affected my business as well.

Ponders Tue 12-Jul-11 20:39:58

I don't bring back any more the kind of things I used to bring back sad

otoh you can still get decent wine over there for €2-3 (which is nice while you're there grin but no good if you're flying home)

are you in an importing business? That must be a PITA (passes most of us by of course)

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 13-Jul-11 06:44:05

Yes, selling imported goods - food, in fact. Main problem is that the corporate pricing structure is determined in continental Europe rather than the UK. When the € exchange rate bombed, my sterling prices had to go up massively and my sales went in the opposite direction.

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