US Dollars purchase...

Normally I'd withdraw them in the USA direct from a cash machine, but I'm not going there. However where I am going, the dollar is widely accepted and the pound is not, and while I will be using my debit card whenever possible to withdraw local currency, it is for emergency cash to be converted into other local currencies where required.
Where in the UK will give me the best rate at the moment?
Reply to
Jake
wrote:
According to
formatting link
the best rate currently available is from ICE London Waterloo Station branch, who will give you 1.638 to the Pound. Chris
Reply to
Chris Blunt
Be careful if you pay with a Visa debit card. I got stung for a £4.50 "cash advance" charge which is hidden in NatWest's Ts & Cs. A search shows that most other banks do the same. I have no idea why Visa treat buying foreign currency on a debit card any different from withdrawing cash or buying anything else.
If I'd known I could easily have got cash from the ATM and used that to buy dollars - no charge for that of course.
Reply to
Reentrant

That's a pretty good rate... Is the Nationwide debit card still competetive when using it abroad? Last time I withdrew 50's worth I paid about 1 card fee, 1 commission and I got a pretty good rate as well.
I suppose you also have the safety factor of not having to carry around all that holiday cash and risk losing it or worse...
Reply to
Jake
When I first opened a Nationwide account, there was no commission and no withdrawal fee for getting cash overseas. Not any more! Now there's 2% commission plus a £1 withdrawal fee.
I've now switched to a Halifax Clarity credit card. This gives you the Mastercard Interbank rate (similar to Visa) with no commission and no withdrawal fee. It's an obvious choice for overseas purchases, but is also good for cash. Even though you have to pay interest on cash withdrawals, this still beats commission-based cards as long as you pay it off straight away. Perversely, Halifax's Debit cards charge commission and withdrawal fees - so it's much better to use their credit card!
Incidentally, the Clarity credit card also gives you £5 cashback per month provided you make purchases of more than £300 (possibly only if you've also got one of their current accounts - can't remember the exact details, I've got both).
Reply to
Roger Mills

It's a bit silly really. When buying foreign currency, I have to walk 200 yards to my Nat West branch, get a bunch of twenty pound notes out, then walk 200 yards back and use them to buy the currency! So much for all these super-efficient electronic transactions.
(Be careful with using the debit card abroad too: mine cost me £1.50 *per transaction*, which can be a huge percentage when you're using it to pay motorway tolls for example.)
Reply to
BartC
Citibank used to offer bank accounts in different currencies?
It might have had a steep minimum monthly deposit amount, minimum earnings etc. I think Barclays & Abbey had favourable account terms.
All may have changed now though, welfare for bad customers, screw the good customers... I recall the £12/yr fee for a credit card and credit limit set appropriately - higher credit limit request got you a loan form and meeting with a bank manager who examined your account... how sanity soon left the system.
Reply to
js.b1
They do.
They don't.
Exchange rate isn't wonderful though - 3-4% load on interbank rate. But no fees. I don't know how you get currency cash to them except by visiting London.
Barclays have a Euro current account, might have a Dollar one as well. You can't use it for much without paying lots of fees though.
Cater Allen (was Abbey now Santander) have something similar, but I think they know how to charge too.
Theo
Reply to
Theo Markettos

I also used my Nationwide debit card for cash withdrawals when abroad - and I'm mightily ticked off that they have begun charging.
I have switched to a Saga credit card for use abroad. No extra charges at all for purchases worldwide. There is a 2% charge for withdrawing cash abroad (minimum £2) but no interest payable if the card is paid off in full each month.
So if you are over 50 - it's a good card for use abroad.
Reply to
Ret.
wrote:
Exactly. I get dollars and Euros by bellying-up to their counter in Hanover Square (that branch used to be on Oxford Street). And they are now offering to convert £100 into $160.51 which I reckon is around a 2 1/2% load on this minute's 1.64965 Interbank Rate. I don't know whether their rate would be better in other amounts or whether they keep changing their rates during the day to track Interbank.
Reply to
Anthony R. Gold

I was quoted $160 for a dead hundred at my local travel agency today, which I reckon is pretty good for a walk up price.
Reply to
Jake
I'd be very surprised if they don't charge you interest on cash withdrawals (from the date of withdrawal until it is fully paid off) even though there's no interest on purchases when you pay in full each month.
Reply to
Roger Mills

Only yesterday when I tried to buy $600 at 1.60, they didn't have any dollars in. Now of course the interbank rate has dropped overnight from 1.64 to 1.62, and when I went back to pick up my order today, the agency were only offering 1.58, so I paid almost an extra 5 for nothing...
Reply to
Jake
The credit cards I've had don't even allow you to pay off a cash withdrawal, at least not until all other purchases for that month have been paid first, even if they are not due to be paid until the due date, and attract no interest themselves.
(Interestingly, I had another card from the same bank, which if used solely for cash withdrawals, *could* have been paid off immediately. If I'd known. Odd that you can be penalised for choosing the wrong card although both have exactly the same conditions.)
Anyway, the interest for withdrawing cash with this Saga card is presumably built-in to the 2% charge, the same charge that is usually hidden in the purchase price of goods. And doubtless the exchange rate is adjusted to the card company's advantage too.
Reply to
BartC

Nope. They use the normal interbank rate which is invariably less than the exchange rates used if you use the antiquated system of buying travellers cheques or foreign cash from a travel agent/post office etc.
Reply to
Ret.
From the Saga website:
"You will not pay interest on new purchases, cash advances or balance transfers if you pay your balance in full and on time on your current statement and on your previous statement.
Cash advances: 2% Cash Advance Fee, minimum £2.00"
Reply to
Ret.
Fair enough. However, I'd missed the bit in your previous post about the fee of 2% or £2 (whichever is greater.
The Halifax Clarity CC has *no* fee for cash withdrawals - and the interest charge of just over 1% per month beats the Saga deal provided you pay it off promptly (and probably even if you don't - in both cases).
Reply to
Roger Mills

I'm just waiting for my Clarity card to come in the post.
However, the 12.9% rate is the minimum; I was quoted at 21 or 22% rate when I applied, because of a credit rating I suppose.
But that application got lost in the system, and the second application now has a rate of 18%! No too bad, as I will probably pay it off as soon as I can.
Reply to
BartC

BeanSmart website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.