Money for your UK Holiday
The general rule is to have a variety of financial options available such as:
- Travellers Cheques
- Credit Cards
- Virtual Credit Cards
- Master Card or Visa Card prepaid Travel Cards
- Debit Cards
- Opening UK bank account
We suggest that you do not leave arranging your money for your holiday to the last minute. Normally the earlier that you plan for this important matter, the easier and less costly it is as you can shop around for the best deals.
Bank Notes are issued in denominations of £5, £10, £20 & £50. In England and Wales these notes are issued by the Bank of England and can be used anywhere in the UK.
Northern Ireland and Scotland print their own bank notes for use in their respective countries. These notes can be exchanged by banks in England and Wales however are not readily accepted by commercial businesses these two countries.
So, we suggest that, when in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the visitor only draw their immediate requirements from an ATM (Automated Cash Point). To avoid any embarrassment when returning to England or Wales, exchange any remaining notes at respective Banks before you leave.
Coins are always difficult to exchange so minimize the number you carry by paying for as many goods and services by coins before you return to England or Wales.
Southern Ireland has the Euro as its currency. Euro can be purchased and exchanged at banks in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but cannot be used as currency in these countries.
A few Travellers Cheques are always a useful stand-by option for emergencies.
Remember there is a fee charged by a bank to issue and to cash them. Not all banks will cash any cheques – check with your bank for a list of banks in the UK that will honour the Travellers Cheques you have purchased.
Currency Exchange points will cash most Travellers Cheques but may charge a higher fee.
- Prepaid Credit Cards
Both Visa and MasterCard have Pre-paid Travel Credit cards. Check with your bank/ card issuer for the card most useful to you. Enquire as to any fees to issue the card, top up the card and to use the card in UK ATMs. These cards can hold a variety of currencies of which an unspent amounts may be transferred to the currency of the next country you visit. Discuss this facility with your Bank/ card issuer.
- Virtual Prepaid Credit Cards
Both Visa and MasterCard issue Virtual Credit Cards. These cards are ideal for purchasing goods and services over the internet, should you be uncomfortable using your normal credit card. Apply to your bank or financial institution to obtain your Virtual Card. They will advise you of conditions of use and costs involved.
Check with your bank or building society that your Debit Card is suitable for use in UK ATMs and for advice on conditions of use and costs involved and for daily withdrawal limits at ATMs.
Care - Dynamic Currency Conversion
Dynamic Currency Conversion happens when you are charged in your own home currency for a credit card purchase in a foreign currency.
DCC operates throughout Europe and across America, and is the practice of adding a local conversion charge – usually around 4%, but sometimes more – to purchases made on credit cards issued in another country, and also cash withdrawals on a credit card or debit card issued in a different country.
We suggest that you discuss DCC with your card issuer to find out the benefits and pitfalls. For additional information, Google - ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’.
Tips on using your card
- Notify your bank/ card issuer before travelling internationally.
- Check with your issuing bank whether your card is subject to daily withdrawal restrictions while abroad, so you know how much money is available from an ATM on a daily basis. Using a credit card for major expenses such as hotels, travel tickets, etc., also helps to ensure that daily cash limits will not be a problem.
- Make a record of card account and telephone numbers for reporting lost or stolen cards and keep them in a safe place away from your wallet or handbag.
Opening Bank Account in UK for use in the UK whilst on Holiday
UK bank accounts are normally restricted to UK residents. However it is worth enquiring through your local Travel Agent who may have an arrangement with HSBC bank to open an account in the UK for you before you set out on your journey.