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Q: Buying British Pounds ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: Buying British Pounds
Category: Business and Money > Finance
Asked by: restonian-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 28 Aug 2006 10:15 PDT
Expires: 29 Aug 2006 18:20 PDT
Question ID: 760200
Is it more economical, when traveling to England on vacation, to buy
British Pounds before leaving the United States (in either cash or
traveler's checks) or to purchase British Pounds in England using U.S.
Dollars or U.S. Dollar traveler's checks?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Buying British Pounds
From: marcdrogin-ga on 28 Aug 2006 21:12 PDT
If you're not talking about a major sum but just need the usual handy
cash to get along from day to day, you can simply wait until you get
to England and then walk up to any bank ATM machine and use your
American bank account debit card to withdraw various amounts of money.
 The ATM machine will give you British Pounds.  It also means you'll
not be carrying a major amount of cash at any one time.  And it means
you aren't left with Pounds to change back into US Dollars when you
get back home again.  I believe your bank account, next time you get a
statement, will have added a 1% to 2% charge to each of those ATM
withdrawal amounts.  You can get the exact figure by asking at the
bank before you head to Britain.
Subject: Re: Buying British Pounds
From: tisme-ga on 28 Aug 2006 21:38 PDT
There won't be much difference, except for the exchange rate. The
American dollar is pretty weak now so I might wait as long as possible
because there are signs the economy is coming back and it might
improve. My guess is that you would probably get a better exchange
rate in England, because availability of the pound might not be as
high at your local bank (depending on where it is). If you have the
time, shop around. There is no perfect answer for this. The best you
can hope for is a researcher with personal experience, and even then,
your experience may differ.
Subject: Re: Buying British Pounds
From: myoarin-ga on 29 Aug 2006 06:40 PDT
I have travelled a lot, and have stopped worrying about the matter.  I
buy foreign currency where it is most convenient, at the airport
before I fly, where one usually has time on one's hands, and if not,
then at an ATM machine, which is definitely a better exchange rate
than that for cash dollars, including the card charge mentioned.
There is a good reason for this.  Foreign currency is just worthless
paper for an exchange booth until it can resell it, no interest, risk
that it will decline in value the next day or two, whereas the ATM
transaction results in immediate payment to the system by bank

For this reason, I tend to disagree with Tisme's theory:  the exchange
rate should be more favorable when buying foreign currency in your own
country, but really, the whole question is rather like that about how
far it is sensible to drive to buy gas cheaper.
Subject: Re: Buying British Pounds
From: restonian-ga on 29 Aug 2006 18:19 PDT
Thanks for your comments.  I also have traveled quite a bit, but am
going on this trip with a Brit who is insisting that buying Pound
Travelers Checks in the U.S. is a far better deal.  I tend to
disagree, but thought I'd check it out with folks who might have more
experience recently in Britain.  I'll probably stick with the ATM,
since my bank has a deal with Barclays.  Much obliged for your

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