Lloyds Bank is one of the UK’s big four banking giants, with branches throughout the country. If you have an account with Lloyds you might be considering getting your travel money through Lloyds internet banking, or from your local Lloyds branch. There are a few different ways Lloyds can help you get your travel money sorted out. You’ll be able to buy euros or US dollars in some Lloyds branches, without ordering in advance, you can order currency online, or make an international transfer to cover your holiday costs.
Here’s all you need to know about getting your foreign currency through Lloyds - and a bit about how you can compare the fees and charges, to decide if Lloyds is the right foreign currency provider for you.
If you bank with Lloyds, or have a Lloyds branch near you, you have a few alternatives when it comes to getting foreign currency for your trip.
If your local Lloyds branch has counter service, you may be able to get euros or US dollars on the spot, and without any need to order in advance. 600 branches across the UK offer euros for instant purchase, and 150 carry US dollars. The full list of branches which offer this service is available on the Lloyds website.
If you need a currency other than euros or US dollars, or don’t live near a branch with foreign exchange services, you can always order your foreign currency or travellers cheques online. You can then choose to have them delivered to your home address, or to a selected local Lloyds branch where you can collect them. Individual orders must be between the currency equivalent of £100 and £3,000 - although you can place multiple orders if you need to exchange more than this.
Another option if you have a Lloyds bank account, is to make an international transfer from your sterling account to a local account wherever you’re headed. This can be handy if you need to pay for a tour or a hotel upfront. It can also be a good way to avoid some international ATM withdrawal fees, if you’re visiting friends or family. You can make a transfer to a local account wherever you’re headed, and then take the money out from fee free cash machines once you arrive. However, there are costs involved in making an international transfer with Lloyds, which you’ll have to consider.
There are some costs you need to know about, if you’re planning on getting your travel money sorted through Lloyds. The exact price of your travel money will be confirmed when you order it, whether you’re initiating the transaction online, or in a branch. There are also charges for sending a payment to a bank account held abroad - here’s what you’ll want to know in advance.
|Ordering foreign currency or travellers cheques online for delivery or collection, and instant currency conversion in Lloyds branches||There is no upfront fee to pay. However, there will likely be a markup added to the exchange rate used. More on that later.|
|International transfers||International transfer fee £9.50 Correspondent bank fee £12-£20 depending on the destination of the payment Your recipient’s bank may also impose a fee for receiving an international payment|
The correspondent bank fee is commonly applied to cover the costs of sending an international payment through the SWIFT system. The SWIFT network involves a series of banks working together to arrange international payments - Lloyds calls these banks ‘agent banks’. Agent banks can charge a fee for their services. When you make an international transfer with Lloyds, you can either decide to pay the agent costs yourself by covering the correspondent bank fee, or in some cases can have your recipient pick up these costs.
You’ll be able to see the exchange rate that Lloyds can offer, when you order your travel money online, or when you visit a branch with exchange services. Once you know the Lloyds rate for the currency you need, it’s a smart idea to check it against the mid-market rate.
Although there are lots of different exchange rates out there, the mid-market rate is helpful because it’s the one banks use to trade currencies between themselves. This makes it a great benchmark to use when looking for a good deal on currency exchange. Many banks and foreign exchange services don’t use the mid-market rate - instead they add a markup to the exchange rate they offer customers, and keep the difference as their profit. This isn’t transparent, and makes it hard to see exactly what the costs of your currency exchange really are.
One provider which does use the mid-market rate for international payments is Wise. There is an upfront fee to pay for a transfer, which is clearly set out, and you’ll be able to see exactly how much your recipient will end up with. When you’re comparing travel money providers, have a look to see if you can save with Wise.
You can order your travel money online via the Lloyds website, and then either have it delivered to your home or to a local Lloyds branch. You’ll need to be available to sign for cash by home delivery, and the money can only be sent to the cardholder’s registered address.
If you’d rather make an international transfer, you can also do this through Lloyds online or telephone banking service. There are costs for an international payment which are set out above, and it’s a good idea to check you’re happy with the exchange rate that will be used.
You can compare the costs of an international payment with Lloyds, with the service on offer from Wise. International payments with Wise are made using the mid-market exchange rate, and there’s just a small transparent fee to pay. The service is FCA regulated, just like your regular bank - but can be faster than an international payment arranged by traditional banks.
Prepaid travel money cards are increasingly popular with holidaymakers because they offer the convenience of spending on a card, with increased security compared to using your regular debit or credit card. With a prepaid card, you load up the currency you need before you travel, on a special debit card which is not linked to your main bank account. That means that, even if you were to lose your travel money card and your PIN, nobody could ever use it to access your regular bank account.
Unfortunately, Lloyds does not offer a travel money card at present.
If you’d like to get the benefits of the Wise's travel money card while you’re away, a good option could be to open a multi-currency borderless account from Wise. You’ll get a linked MasterCard debit card, for convenient spending while you’re abroad, and can hold money in dozens of different currencies all in the same account. Just load up the currency you need before you travel, and top it up as and when you need to. There is no monthly fee to operate a borderless account, and all currency conversion is carried out using the mid-market exchange rate and for just a small transparent fee.
If you’re planning on using a debit, credit or prepaid card while you travel, one tricky fee you’ll need to watch out for is DCC - dynamic currency conversion. This is where you are asked if you want to pay for your purchase or cash withdrawal using pounds instead of the local currency where you are. DCC is described as a service for customers as it means you don’t have to think too hard about foreign exchange while you travel. However, paying in pounds will usually cost you more, because the ATM operator or retailer will decide the exchange rate and fees that are added to your transaction, instead of your own bank. To get the best deal, you should always choose to pay in the local currency.
Getting the best travel money for your trip will mean you have more to play with while you’re on holiday. So while it’s not the most exciting part of planning a trip overseas, it’s definitely important. Do a bit of research in advance to find the best service for your travel money, and make your holiday one to really remember.
All sources correct as of 28 December 2018
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