Since I have been travelling alot lately, one of the most important thing I have come across is how to get the best deal with currency exchange. Obviously its very easy nowdays and there are number of ways including credit cards, debit cards, exchange on the counter at airport, high street brands, banks and other independent outlets. I have used all of these but the most annoying thing is the commission they charge on every single transaction. And you end up wasting so much time just to figure out what is the best available deal, plus it does your head in.
For me the solution is Halifax Clarity Card. With this card you can withdraw cash from ATM without any charge anywhere in the world. No annual fee, nothing and you get the actual MASTER card exchange rate i.e. no additional bank commission. Sounds too good to be true :)…well there is always a catch. First of all you can only have this card if you live in UK. Secondly you have to be Halifax customer. Lastly they charge a very tiny amount of interest which is next to nothing though (about £1/month for each £100 withdrawn) if you pay back the balance full at the end of the month. Nonetheless I think its the best deal out there… atleast for me. No hassel of thinking about getting currency exchange, rates etc. Wherever there is a cashpoint abroad, you are getting the best exhange rate. By the way you can also use this card for purchases on the counter. Just always remember to pay in local currency and never ever in GBP (this applies to every card).
I have been using this card for the last few months and its amazing. I never worry about exchanging currency before going or while abroad, taking cash abroad or getting best exchange rate deal etc. anymore. Almost every airport has a cash machine and I just get the cash at the arrivals. However for emergency reason I would still recommend to take may be £50 worth of local currency… you never know, infact at Geneva airport the cash points do not dispense euros and if you are taking a short ride via shuttle to France, you have to pay in euros and the shuttle company don’t take card payment 😦 silly!