Holiday planning ‘can save cash’
Tags: Heathrow, Luton, MasterCard, VISA Europe
Holidaymakers could save as much as £111 if they sensibly use cards abroad and are smart about how they exchange their currency, according to a Government-run watchdog.
The maximum figure applies to a family of four spending two weeks around the Mediterranean on a holiday costing £2,180.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said anything between £63 and £111 can be saved if currency is bought online before departure from airports such as Heathrow and Luton, and if cards that are free to use abroad are utilised.
This represents a saving of between 2.8% and 4.8% of the total holiday bill, OFT said.
Savings were calculated by comparing the strategy against, for example, using a credit card to pay the hotel bill and buying foreign currency in the UK at a more typical bureau de change.
OFT also found:
:: Banks charged debit card users a total of £410 million in 2010 alone for using the bankcard while on holiday.
:: Banks also took in £260 million by charging people to use their credit card abroad.
:: Withdrawing money at a foreign cash machine costs banks and building societies more because they are charged fees by either Visa Europe or MasterCard and by the bank which owns the cash machine being used.
:: Banks also charge their customers more if a particular transaction occurs and or if a particular card is used.
:: The Post Office sells more foreign currency than all others, comprising 28% of the market.
Copyright © Press Association 2011