Sky-high rates if you change cash at airport
HOLIDAYMAKERS who leave it to the last minute to buy foreign currency can end up paying dearly.
You could be out of pocket to the tune of nearly US$30 (€22) by waiting till you get to the airport to change €500 into American dollars.
And for sterling you could save up to STG£18 (€23) by shopping around in advance for your currency.
A survey by the Irish Independent yesterday found that you would only get US$621 for €500 at the International Currency Exchange (ICE) outlet in Shannon Airport if you turn up on the day. This is over US$26 (€19) less than the €647.35 you'd have got by changing it at a post office.
However, you could up this to US$650 if you used ICE's pre-order 'click and collect' service, which allows you purchase currency online and collect it at the airport.
However, bizarrely the Dublin ICE outlet said you would get US$652 if you purchased €500 worth of dollars at the airport, but just US$649.45 if you purchased it in advance via its click and collect service.
A staff member said this was because of an "anomaly" in how the rates were calculated.
ICE at Dublin Airport would only give you STG£367 for €500 if you turned up just before your flight to change money, compared with STG£381 from AIB and Bank of Ireland branches nationwide, or STG£383.50 from An Post.
However, ICE would give you STG£385.77 if you preordered the currency online.
An Post offers commission-free currency exchange at many post offices, but only offers US dollars or UK sterling - though these tend to be the most competitive on the high street. AIB and Bank of Ireland offer broadly similar exchange rates to each other on US dollars and sterling, including a €4.95 commission.
The currency exchange prices quoted were obtained yesterday.
A report by Debenhams Personal Finance in Britain this week estimated that holidaymakers there waste around STG£20m (€25m) a year by not getting the best exchange rates.
It concluded that while consumers are avid bargain hunters when it comes to booking a flight or hotel, they are less savvy about doing their homework to find currency deals.