travel cash.png

  • Just 46% of tourists check travel money rates despite Brexit volatility
  • Fewer than one in four convert spare foreign travel cash back into sterling
  • Banks are among the least trusted for the best rates

More than half of holidaymakers are not shopping around for travel cash despite ongoing foreign exchange volatility, a new travel money survey1 from financial research experts Consumer Intelligence shows.


Its research among people travelling abroad in the past six months found 54% accepted the first deal they were offered even though rates have varied widely ahead of and after the EU Referendum vote to leave.


Just 23% are converting spare cash back into sterling after they return from trips abroad reflecting the volatility affecting the pound which can mean rates will have fallen further since the currency was bought, the research found.


The pound2   has slumped dramatically against the dollar and Euro since June 23rd falling from $1.49 to around $1.22 and from €1.30 to €1.11 with further volatility expected as the UK negotiates to leave the European Union.


Consumer Intelligence’s research found on average holidaymakers take between £250 and £999 in cash on overseas trips and just one in five (19%) return with no spare foreign currency.


More than two-thirds (68%) are keeping their foreign currency for future trips overseas and only 23% convert the money back into sterling, the study shows.


The research shows the Post Office is the most popular source of foreign exchange with 23% of those surveyed buying through it – the nearest competitors were Tesco, Sainsburys, M&S, Thomas Cook and Travelex with shares of around 7% and 6%. However customers are not loyal to one supplier – around 83% say they have used other providers in the past.


High street banks remain the least popular and trusted by customers on rates with only Barclays making the top 10 providers used.


Andrew Buller, Travel Money Director at Consumer Intelligence said:

“The pound has slumped dramatically since the EU Referendum losing around 15% against the Euro and 18% against the dollar and is likely to remain volatile.

“That should make it more likely that people shop around to secure the best price before travelling but more than half of holidaymakers do not check rates and accept the first deal they are offered.


“Research shows that customers are not loyal to one provider with most of us having used others in the past so taking the time to research rates before buying should be second nature.”


Consumer Intelligence’s research shows the majority of customers buy foreign cash weeks before travelling with very few buying on the day of departure. Around 41% say they buy a few days before setting off while 43% buy a few weeks in advance.


The study shows customers are cautious about using debit cards overseas and only 19% buy more foreign currency while abroad.



Notes to Editors

1 Consumer Intelligence surveyed 2,128 adults aged 18-plus in October 2016




Travel money: how Britain buys travel money


how-britain-buys-travel-money-banner-1.pngConsumer Intelligence’s biannual travel money survey reveals a detailed picture of the UK travel money market. Our last survey involved 1,096 online interviews in October 2017. Here are some highlights.

Download Infographic



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