Holiday money: How to monitor the exchange rate to get the most from your pounds

The pound exchange rate can seem fairly baffling to many holidaymakers. Although it often seems easiest to just buy travel money when the timing suits you, you can get much more bang for your buck by purchasing holiday money when the exchange rate is most favourable. But how do you go about monitoring it? spoke to Marianne Gilmore, Managing Director, Private International Payments at currency provider moneycorp for her travel advice.

Gilmore advised the first step should be to check on how the currency you want to buy has changed over the past month.

“Firstly, consider your desired currency’s previous rate fluctuations in the last month,” she said.

“From these values, budget a realistic window as to what rate you’d be willing to exchange on, bearing in mind that an additional commission fee may apply when you actually exchange your money.”

Tracking tools can be your best friend when looking to see at which point the pound is performing best.

“In order to help you keep your finger on the pulse of currency fluctuations, some foreign exchange providers will have useful tracking tools,” said Gilmore.

“For example, with a moneycorp account, you can set up a free currency exchange rate alert, something a lot of our customers do.

“You set your desired currency rate either online or through our app, and as soon as it reaches your ideal exchange rate we will notify you via email so you can easily purchase your currency.

“This saves a lot of time, and reduces the need for our customers to constantly check the rates.”

Prepaid cards are also useful and plenty of providers offer them now.

“[They’re] a convenient way of ensuring great savings when you spend,” said Gilmore.

“It also prevents any last-minute panic at the airport, where prices can be higher due to additional operating costs.

You can pay using prepaid cards and also withdraw cash if you’d rather have the physical money.

Make sure you choose a good provider though.

Gilmore advised: “When choosing your prepaid card provider, we’d always advise checking whether the provider charges ATM fees or card payment fees abroad, whether they allow you to lock in exchange rates online, and what currencies are available.”

For the tech-savvy, it’s worth looking for a card that is linked to an app or online account.

“This will allow you to check your balance, keep track of spending and top up your account instantly, with no fuss,” pointed out the expert.

“Moreover, in having the function to lock in an exchange rate in advance, you’re free to spend without worrying about currency fluctuations, and when you need more money, you are only a click away.”

Lastly, when choosing a provider, make sure they offer the help you may need.

“We’d always advise choosing a provider with second-to-none customer service,” said Gilmore.

“Find a provider with 24/7 online access to help you control your currency, or an easily available customer care team, available online or on the phone, so you have expert guidance on hand, whenever or wherever you may need it.”

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