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The Easter and May bank holiday weekends could see thousands of Scots booking last-minute holidays, if they haven't already planned a trip abroad or "staycation".

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...don't be stung by high exchange rates at the airport or charges on your credit card as both can really eat into your holiday budget. Pre-ordering your foreign currency at a site such as ICE or FairFX, rather than exchanging your money at the airport, could save you £82.41 on €1,000.

Bob Atkinson at Moneysupermarket.com said: "Most credit cards will start to charge you interest the moment you make a withdrawal from an ATM, which could mean a hefty bill on your return, in addition to currency loading and cash withdrawal fees."

Debit cards also typically charge a usage fee of up to 3% for cash withdrawals overseas plus an ATM fee (£1.50 to £5) plus a transaction fee of £1.50 - whatever the purchase.

A cheaper option may be a prepaid currency card in euros or dollars from the likes of FairFX, Caxton FX or WeSwap. They are loaded from your debit card and lock in a known exchange rate at the time of purchase.

Read the full article here

Monday 14 April 2014, 11:46am

Tags: prepaid card, press mentions

High street banks charge high prices for international money transfers, yet execute 90 per cent of transactions. Your Money looks at the alternatives on the market.

You can hop on a flight to Spain tomorrow for less than £100, but getting your money to a bank account there - to pay the mortgage on your holiday home, for example, or finance your child's education - can be a pricey pursuit.

Research by Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms shows high street bank customers are paying far more - up to £53 on transactions of £1,100 - than they need to for international transfers.

Hagger explains: "Consumers simply don't appreciate that there are cheaper alternatives available. They're also confused by the combination of uncompetitive exchange rates and transaction fees levied by the banks."

A quick look at the websites of the major banks reveals the average standard fee for transferring money abroad is £25 a pop.

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According to research by Moneycomms, getting €1,200 to an account in Spain on 18 February 2014 cost £999.25 through online specialist FairFX. Going through HSBC increased the cost to £1,020.02, while through Santander the transaction hit £1,039.74. While the differences may seem small, anyone with property overseas, family in other countries or jobs abroad could be paying these additional costs every month.

Read the full article here

Thursday 10 April 2014, 10:02am

Tags: money tips, pound, press mentions

Growing your business will inevitably mean also growing your staff numbers.

And if you've made the choice to expand abroad, you'll soon have employees travelling the globe on your behalf, which means managing their travel costs and expenses could become a full time job.

The card market offers numerous possibilities to equip your staff with a payment method, but finding the most cost effective and efficient way of managing payments needn't be daunting.

Read the full article here

Wednesday 09 April 2014, 12:34pm

Tags: best rates, business expenses, business expenses platform, press mentions, Travel Money Cards

Sun cream, swimming costume, passport... Another thing you should never jet off on an Easter break without is travel insurance.

And to avoid your dream holiday turning into a nightmare, it is also vital to ensure that the policy you choose offers the level of cover you and your family need.

It can be tempting to save a few pounds by opting for the lowest-priced travel insurance you can find. But analysis from MoneySuperMarket reveals that Easter holidaymakers who take out the cheapest policy could be leaving themselves and their families open to overseas disaster.

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Currency exchange

He added: "It's also worth investigating currency exchange options to allow you to get the best deal on your holiday money.

"Our research shows that you could, for example, pay just £838.57 for €1,000 by pre-ordering currency online through FairFX - that's £82.41 less than it would cost you to buy the same amount of euros at the last minute.

Read the full article here

Wednesday 09 April 2014, 08:58am

Tags: money articles, press mentions, travel cash

STERLING has been steadily gaining strength over the last few weeks, which is positive news for those planning a break abroad this Easter, as they should find they get good value for their pounds.

Since April 2013, the pound has risen 3 per cent against the euro, making the Continent a great option for your spring break, especially when you factor in the cost benefit of short-haul flights.

In fact, new findings from M&S Bank show that the “most affordable” holiday destinations this Easter are all in Europe, and include Mallorca, Malta, Cyprus, Tenerife and Crete.

According to the research, Mallorca is the most affordable island destination, with a week’s holiday costing just £253 per person.

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Play Your Cards Right

If you are planning on using your cards overseas, you need to proceed with care.

“Your plastic may offer a secure and convenient way to pay when you are away from the UK, but the fees and charges can vary widely,” warns Hagger. “It is worth getting to grips with these before you head off.”

Most banks will add on a foreign usage fee to all credit card cash and purchase transactions, and this can range from 2.75 per cent to 2.99 per cent. The good news is, there are better alternatives.

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Another option is a prepaid currency card in euros or dollars from the likes of FairFX, Caxton FX or WeSwap.

“These cards are chip-and-pin secure and accepted wherever you see the MasterCard symbol,” says Hagger. “They often offer a cheaper way to pay than many high street debit and credit cards.”

These currency cards can be loaded from your debit card, and the exchange rate is locked in at the time that the cash is transferred. This means you will know exactly what you will be paying for all your holiday transactions.

Read the full article here

Monday 07 April 2014, 10:32am

Tags: holiday costs, holiday currency, holiday money, prepaid card, press mentions

Backpackers faced £250 worth of extra costs after the bank scrapped its free international spending and cash withdrawals.

A young couple on a backpacking trip around the world were stung with more than £250 in additional costs after Metro Bank introduced international charges for overseas spending. Lance Taylor and Charlotte McCormick left for their seven-month trip in December. They had both moved their money to Metro Bank because it offered fee-free cash withdrawals and spending abroad on debit and credit cards. They each opened a current and savings account and Miss McCormick took out a credit card. But on March 18, Metro Bank introduced a 1.9pc charge for international purchases made outside of the eurozone plus a £1 “non-sterling cash fee” for withdrawals. The couple, who were in Australia at the time, said they received an email telling them of the changes just days before they were due to take effect.

The best cards for spending abroad.

A handful of cards give you low-cost access to your money abroad.

...a prepaid card that you load up before you travel then use as a debit card abroad. The exchange rate is set on the day you load it up, so there are no surprises. FairFX has a prepaid card that comes in euros, US dollars or sterling. If you spend in the chosen currency there are no transaction fees, but if you use it for other currencies a 1.4pc fee applies. Cash withdrawals cost €1.50 or US$2.

Read the full article here

Thursday 03 April 2014, 08:31am

Tags: holiday charges, holiday costs, holiday spending, press mentions, travel money

New research from Moneycomms reveals that high street bank customers are paying a heavy price when it comes to sending foreign payments overseas.

Simply by using the services of a specialist online FX provider, consumers could save more than £53 on an £1100 transaction.

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“Consumers simply don’t appreciate that there are cheaper alternatives available and are confused by the combination of uncompetitive exchange rates and transaction fees levied by the banks.”

“Even though some providers claim to offer a fee free service the wide variation in bid-offer spreads charged in FX transactions often represent the major hidden cost to retail customers.”

Ian Strafford-Taylor (CEO) of FairFX said: “the bewildering array of tariffs for transferring money overseas makes life difficult for the man on the street, the situation is further complicated as many of the banks charge fixed fees as well as a bigger margin on the rate of exchange”.

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Read the full article here

Tuesday 01 April 2014, 02:57pm

Tags: money tips, Money Transfer, press mentions

New research from Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms reveals that high street bank customers are paying a heavy price when it comes to sending foreign payments overseas.

Simply by using the services of a specialist online FX provider, consumers could save more than £53 on an £1100 transaction.

While some banks may appear to offer a reasonable deal on mainstream currencies such as the Euro and US Dollar, when it comes to lesser used currencies such as the Czech Koruna, Polish Zloty and Swiss Franc the costs are far less competitive.

The added transaction fees across all currencies make the banks even more uncompetitive.

Hagger said: “Consumers simply don’t appreciate that there are cheaper alternatives available and are confused by the combination of uncompetitive exchange rates and transaction fees levied by the banks.”

...

Ian Strafford-Taylor (CEO) of FairFX said: “the bewildering array of tariffs for transferring money overseas makes life difficult for the man on the street, the situation is further complicated as many of the banks charge fixed fees as well as a bigger margin on the rate of exchange”.

Read the full article here

Friday 28 March 2014, 09:49am

Tags: money, money tips, press mentions, transfer money, transfer money from the uk

Rates on offer from specialist online foreign exchange providers show what a raw deal people transferring money overseas get from the high street, new research has revealed Andrew Hagger of money website Moneycomms found that people transferring money overseas on a monthly basis – to pay for property or their children studying and travelling abroad – could be paying up to £600 a year more than they need to by not using specialist providers.

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Hagger said: "Consumers simply don't appreciate that there are cheaper alternatives available and are confused by the combination of uncompetitive exchange rates and transaction fees levied by the banks." He added: "It has been reported previously that up to 90% of transactions are still conducted through the banks, so there is a huge amount of money to be saved if only consumers took advantage of deals from some of the specialist breed of online brokers such as FairFX ,Caxton FX , HiFX and Moneycorp."

Read the full article here

Wednesday 26 March 2014, 08:42am

Tags: prepaid card, prepaid cards, press, press mentions, publicity

Rates on offer from specialist online foreign exchange providers show what a raw deal people transferring money overseas get from the high street, new research has revealed.

Andrew Hagger of money website Moneycomms found that people transferring money overseas on a monthly basis - to pay for property or their children studying and travelling abroad - could be paying up to £600 a year more than they need to by not using specialist providers.

For example, Hagger's research found that transferring AUD$2,000 to Australia cost £1,146.64 with Barclays but £1,093.14 with online specialist FairFX (which commissioned the research). So the high street Barclays deal, which included fees and charges of £25, was £53.51 more expensive than FairFX's (which didn't have any fees or charges).

Read the full article here

Monday 24 March 2014, 04:07pm

Tags: press mentions

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