It's easy to leave sorting your holiday money to the last minute. It's one of the less exciting things on the holiday to-do list, so is likely to be neglected in favour of buying a new holiday wardrobe or booking exciting holiday activities. However, if you end up buying your euros in the airport, you can guarantee you're getting one of the worst deals possible.
So to save you the hassle of hunting around for the best possible exchange rate, we have explored ten of the most popular options. We assume you want 100 euros, and have calculated how much you will need to spend - including commission, fees and delivery - in order to get them. We also assume you have enough time to order in advance and then collect the next day or wait for delivery. All prices are correct at time of writing on Friday 12 June.
The 5 best places to buy
The best place to buy euros is Ice Currency Exchange. It's worth highlighting that this is the online rate - so if you want a cheap deal you'll need to order it online rather than in a store. At the moment it is offering an exchange rate of 1.358, so 100 euros will cost you £73.66.
In second place is No1 Currency. Again the online rates are much better than those available in the stores, so you need to order online and collect in store. At the moment the exchange rate is 1.355, so 100 euros will cost you £73.82. There are more of these branches across the country, but if there's not one close to you, they won't deliver, so you'll need to go elsewhere.
In third place is Moneycorp, where at the moment 100 euros will cost you £74.18. Again the walk-in rates are much worse, so for the best deal you need to order online at least 24 hours in advance, and then pick up from a store. One of the nice features of Moneycorp is that they are based in airports, so you can pick your money up in the airport you're flying from.
Asda takes fourth place. Again for the best rate you need to order online and then collect in a shop. The big advantage Asda has over the other brands is that collection is far more convenient for most people. The exchange rate is 1.349 for advance orders, so if you collect it'll cost you a total of £74.13. If you want it delivered, you need to add in delivery of £3.95 on amounts under £500, so it will set you back £78.08.
In fifth place is Tesco. As before, the cheapest way to buy at Tesco is by ordering online in advance, and then picking it up in store. Its exchange rate is 1.348, so 100 euros will cost you £74.21. If you want it delivered, you'll need to add in £3.95 for delivery on amounts up to £500, so 100 euros cost £78.16.
The five worst places to buy
The stand-out winner of this title is any bureau at the airport, which will take advantage of its captive audience, to offer far lower rates. It's not easy to get an up-to-date exchange rate for every airport. However, moneysavingexpert.com has come up with a rule of thumb for calculating a typical airport rate. It rang every airport bureau to get its exchange rate, and compared it to the online exchange rate being offered by the same company at the time. It then worked out the percentage difference, and worked on the basis that roughly this percentage difference will be maintained every day. On this basis, today its estimated walk-in cost at the airport for 100 euros is £82.30.
In second place is an online company Fair FX. This firm is very competitive for larger sums or pre-paid cards, but this result goes to show the terrible effect of delivery charges when you're exchanging smaller sums. At the moment the exchange rate is a very competitive 1.358, so 100 euros will cost you £73.66.
If that was the only cost, it would make this the most cost-effective place to buy your currency. However, it charges £7.50 delivery for amounts under £500, £5 for amounts between £500 and £750, and its only free if you order more than £750. The total cost, therefore is £81.16.
It highlights two things about the online currency firms. First, as a general rule they are incredibly competitive. And second, if you aren't ordering enough to qualify for free delivery, the delivery charge will quickly make the company far less attractive.
The third most expensive place to get your money is The Money Shop. This has a minimum order of £200, but is such a strikingly poor deal it's worth including. The online exchange rate is better than the ones you'll find in store, and at the moment is 1.352. However, you'll need to pay £5.99 for either click and collect or home delivery. This fee drops to £3.99 when you order more than £500, and any orders over £1,200 are delivered for free. It wouldn't be possible to buy 100 euros because of the minimum spend, but for the sake of comparison, if you could, it would cost you £80.
Fourth place goes to Travelex. Even if you order online and collect in store (getting the better online rate and avoiding any delivery charge), the rate isn't great. At the moment its offering 1.350. It means 100 euros will cost you £76.08.
And in fifth place is the Post Office. Again you can get a better rate by ordering online, and by collecting in store the next day there's no delivery charge to pay. However, even then, the rate cannot compete. At the moment it's offering 1.33 on 100 euros, so it'll cost you £75.19. The more you buy, the better the rate you get from the Post Office, but even for larger amounts it doesn't compete with the supermarkets.
Overall, there was a huge difference between the best and the worst - amounting to £8.64. That's an astonishing 10% difference, and puts a huge dent in your holiday spending, so it's worth thinking carefully before you buy.
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