Sunday, July 09, 2006

Foreign exchange tips for Londoners

If you are a Londoner, how do you exchange your sterling when you travel to the Euro area?

I knew Marks and Spencer (M&S) did money exchange service. But I thought it was expensive.

It seems I was wrong.

On 8th July 2006, the interbank rate of 1 British pound is equal to 1.44007 euro according to On the M&S website, its exchange rate on the same day is 1 quid equal to 1.396 euro.

I went to Italy last month to attend Alberto's wedding. I withdrew 50 euro in Venice by my Maestro card. It was on 12th June. Including cash advance fees etc., 50 euro cost 36.31 pounds. So the effective exchange rate was 1 pound equal to 1.377031. With, you can check the exchange rate on a specific day in the past. On 12th June, 1 British pound was 1.45579 euro at the interbank rate. Even though the interbank rate becomes more unfavourable for sterling owners during the last one month, the M&S rate yesterday is better than the effective rate last month.

So it's obvious that the M&S offers a better deal than withdrawing cash in the euro zone. Of course, it makes every sense. If M&S offers a worse deal, who will bother to go to a M&S store to exchange money before their trip to Europe by sacrificing their precious time in London?

Anyway, next time I go to the euro zone from London, I will use M&S Travel Money service.

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