BEST CURRENCY EXCHANGE IN LONDON AND THE UK: HOW TO AVOID LOSING MONEY.
When you arrive in Great Britain, the first thing to do is to get some Great British Pounds (GBP). Try to follow these basic rules in order to avoid being ripped off by the money exchange business!
NEVER CHANGE YOUR CURRENCY INTO GBP AT THE AIRPORT
You’ll find thousands of currency exchange outlets at the airport. Avoid them like the plague. Rates and commissions are the least favourable here. If you arrive without GBP in your wallet, head straight to the nearest ATM or bank. You’ll get 2 – 5% better rates.
USE ATMs TO WITHDRAW GBP
In general, ATMs are a good way to go when you need cash. Just be sure to understand any fees imposed by your bank. There may be a flat fee for the transaction. There may be a transaction fee that is a certain percentage of what you withdraw. When selecting an ATM in London, it’s best to use one at an actual bank. This should avoid further fees imposed by the owner of the ATM.
PICK EXCHANGE COMPANIES WISELY WHEN CHANGING YOUR MONEY IN TOWN
There are many different companies which offer currency exchange. Most of them can be found in the parts of London which are heavily visited by tourists (West End, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Soho, Oxford Street and so on) or similarly touristy locations of any UK town you are in. Some of the most popular exchange companies are Eurochange, TTT Moneycorp, The Change Group, International Currency Exchange, Chequepoint, American Express, and Thomas Cook. Remember that the commission they apply is generally very high and exchange rates are never favourable. Yes, just like at the airports! However, the exchange rates are nearly always negotiable in this case. If you think the exchange rate is too high, you can try to negotiate with the agent to obtain a better rate.
Thomas Global always has good rates and has a few exchange offices in various locations.
CHANGING YOUR CURRENCY AT THE POST OFFICE
Changing your currency at the post office is slightly cheaper than doing it through exchange offices, although not all of them offer this service. However, keep in mind that they charge a commission and rate negotiation is not possible.
SOUVENIR SHOPS ARE THE BEST AND CHEAPEST CURRENCY EXCHANGE IN LONDON. WHY?
It may seem incredible, but this is the most convenient option for you. This is simply because money exchange is not their main purpose! They don’t get much money out of it, and they don’t charge commission. They simply offer it as an additional service to customers who can stay in the shop and buy…souvenirs! So, just head straight to the nearest souvenir shop for a cheap money exchange option!
Avoid carrying a large amount of cash with you. Use credit cards for larger purchases and use cash for purchases in small, independently-owned shops, such as convenience stores and souvenir shops. For transactions you would pay with your credit card, make sure you have one that has zero foreign transaction fees. This will ensure you don’t pay more than you have to. American Express is not widely accepted in the UK but MasterCard or Visa are accepted everywhere.