Brits are panic-buying foreign currency before the EU referendum

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Brits are panic-buying their travel money ahead of the EU Referendum on Thursday, the Post Office has said.

Hundreds of holidaymakers heading abroad this summer have been queueing up to exchange their pounds, so much so Post Office Travel Money – which accounts for one in four of all UK foreign exchange transactions – said its currency sales have surged by 74% year-on-year since the weekend.

It said on Tuesday that Post Office branch sales were up by 48.8% on the same period a year ago, while online purchases were up by 381%.

British passport and foreign currency
(Tim Ockenden/PA)

The value pound has made some gains in recent days, rebounding from two-month lows against the dollar and the euro a week ago when Brexit concerns sent it plunging.

Brits have been warned that a Brexit vote could trigger further falls in the pound – and some holidaymakers may be hedging their bets by changing their money ahead of the vote.

Despite the surge in demand, the Post Office said it is stocked up and has ready availability of euros for purchase in its branches and online.

Bureau de Change in London
(Lauren Hurley/PA)

If you're struggling to decide whether to stock up on those dollars, euros and other holiday currency before the referendum vote, MoneySavingExpert.com has offered a potential solution.

Apparently some of the big bureaux allow people to buy currency now at today's rate for collection in the next seven to 60 days – but they may also allow you to cancel the order, sometimes for a full refund.

Buying now means consumers lock in that day's rate, which offers protection if the pound falls in value.

But if it rises, customers could have the option of cancelling, getting a refund and buying again at a better rate.

MoneySavingExpert.com explains more about how these policies work here.