Friday, October 21, 2011

Foreign exchange - what happened next

To continue the story I started in the post below .... I noticed that the foreign exchange at Marks and Spencers also did a very good rate - in fact, over the counter, within two tenths of a cent of the same rate that I could get online at the post office. So I went there.

They didn't charge commission. However ... they said that if I withdrew money using a Barclays debit card (debit card!!) then Barclays would charge commission. I have to say that this baffled me - since when have a bank charged for using a debit card for making a cash withdrawal?!

However, I went to a cashpoint, withdrew (free) £300, went back to Marks and Spencers, and exchanged it for dollars.

Had I bought dollars at the airport, £300 would have bought me around $425. A week or so later, at Marks and Spencers, about £299 bought me $455. The exchange rate had changed in that time, and this accounts for around half the difference.

It's also worth noting that if you order money in advance to collect from the airport, the exchange rates are far less punitive.


Matthew Maxson said...

How does the exchange rate you got here compare to what you would get at a cashpoint (ATM) if you just used your card in the US to withdraw money?

Most of the time, the places I go I can't--easily--buy currency so that is what I do. But I've always wondered how it works out.

Paul Fernandez said...

I think it's pretty closely comparable.