Tesco Travel Money - What is it, how it works, and alternatives

Tommy Buckley

Have a holiday booked? While you’re booking flights and packing your suitcase, you’ll also need to get your travel money sorted.

If you like to take cash abroad with you, one way to get the foreign currency you need is with Tesco Bank Travel Money. But what actually is it and how does it work?

Read on to find out, as we’ll cover everything you need to know here in this guide. This includes how to place an order, collection and delivery options, fees, exchange rates and more.

We’ll also take a look at a convenient and potentially money-saving alternative - the Wise card.

It’s a powerful international debit card for spending and withdrawing cash in 150+ countries, offering better rates than many currency exchange services. And there’s no need to carry cash around - you can just spend on plastic, saving space in your suitcase.

But more on this later. For now, let’s get back to Tesco Bank Travel Money.

What is Tesco Bank Travel Money and how does it work?

Tesco Travel Money is a service for ordering foreign currency, which you can do online or in a Tesco store.

This means you can order in advance, or simply walk into your local supermarket (as long as it has a travel money bureau in store) and buy your currency.

Tesco Bank says it has a wide range of foreign currencies instantly available for purchase, including EUR and USD. But if it doesn’t have the currency you want there and then, it can be ordered for you.

There are a few ways to receive your currency order, including home delivery and Click and Collect.

The service offers the following features:¹

  • Price Match - if you see a better exchange rate advertised within three miles of your local Tesco Travel Money Bureau on the same day, Tesco Bank will match it. This only applies to like-for-like transactions advertised in stores, not for any exchange rates advertised online.
  • Clubcard Prices - Tesco Clubcard holders will get better exchange rates when entering a valid clubcard number. This is only available when buying currency online.
  • Buy Back service - if you have any unspent currency left over after your trip, you can sell it back to Tesco Bank in exchange for pounds.
  • 10% discount on Tesco Bank travel insurance when you buy Tesco Travel Money.

Tesco Travel Money was named the ‘Best Travel Money Provider’ in the Personal Finance Awards 2022/23, an award voted for by the public.¹

Its foreign currency exchange services are provided by Travelex.

Fees and exchange rates

So, how much does it cost to use Tesco Bank Travel Money? The good news is that there’s no commission fee to order currency in a Tesco store, or for Click and Collect orders.

However, there is a delivery fee for certain orders, if you’re having your travel money delivered to your home.

Here are the main charges you need to know about:¹

TypeTesco Bank fee
Online foreign currency orders between £75 and £149.99£4.99 delivery fee
Online foreign currency orders between £150 and £499.99£3.95 delivery fee
Online foreign currency orders over £500Free
Cancelling a Click & Collect order less than 24 hours before collection date£10 late cancellation fee

It’s also worth noting that charges may apply if you use a credit card to pay for your Tesco Travel Money order. Tesco Bank won’t charge you anything, but your credit card provider is likely to have fees for cash-related transactions. This usually includes the purchase of foreign currency.

What exchange rates does Tesco Travel Money use?

Like many foreign currency providers, Tesco Bank Travel Money adds its own margin to the mid-market exchange rate

Also known as the interbank rate, this is the rate that banks use when trading currency with each other. It’s generally considered to be one of the fairest exchange rates you can get, but it’s hard to find. Only a small number of providers stick to it, such as Wise.

By adding its own margin to the rate, Tesco Bank makes money from the transaction. But unfortunately, it means you get slightly less currency in exchange for your pounds.

However, Tesco Bank does trim this margin a little for Tesco Clubcard holders, so you’ll get a better rate when you enter your Clubcard number for online orders.¹

Tesco Bank is transparent about its exchange rates, and you can check the live rate at any time on the company’s website.

How to order travel money from Tesco - step-by-step guide

If you’d like to get your travel money from Tesco, here’s how to go about placing an order online:

  1. Go to the Tesco Bank Travel Money website
  2. Select the currency you want to buy from the drop-down menu on the right-hand side.
  3. Indicate whether or not you have a Tesco Clubcard. If ‘yes’, you’ll see slightly better exchange rates for your order.
  4. Choose the amount you’d like to order, selecting from the options or typing in the amount yourself.
  5. You’ll see the exchange rate and the amount of currency you’ll get in exchange for your pounds
  6. Select ‘Buy Currency online’
  7. Complete the on-screen steps to place your order, entering your Clubcard number (if applicable) and payment details. Payment for online orders is by card only.
  8. Choose from Home Delivery or Click & Collect, paying the delivery fee if applicable.
  9. Wait for your travel money to arrive in the post, or head to your local Tesco Bank bureau on your collection date to pick it up.

Collection and delivery options¹

If you choose Click & Collect, you’ll be able to enter your postcode to find your nearest Tesco store with a foreign exchange bureau. You’ll be given a collection date, and your money will be available after 3pm on this date.

You’ll need to provide photo ID and the card used to place the order, so you can verify your identity to staff.

Your travel money will be held for a maximum of 4 days after your collection date. Before going to collect your order, it’s worth checking the opening times of your local store and bureau.

For home delivery orders, here’s when you can expect to receive your order (applies to all currencies:

  • For orders placed before 1.30pm from Monday to Thursday - next day
  • For orders placed before 1.30pm on Friday - Saturday or Monday.
  • For orders placed after 1.30pm Monday to Friday, or anytime on Saturday or Sunday - within 2 working days.

You can also choose a delivery date. Just be aware that someone will need to be home to sign for travel money orders.

What is the Tesco Multi-currency Cash Passport?

Tesco Bank also has something called the Tesco Multi-currency Cash Passport, which could be a good alternative to buying currency in cash.

It’s a prepaid travel money card. You can load it with up to seven currencies before you travel, then spend abroad just like you would with your normal debit card while in the UK. You can lock in the exchange rate every time you load, reload or switch between currencies.

However, there are a few catches. Firstly, you’ll only have a choice of these currencies - euros, US dollars, UK pounds, South African rands, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars and New Zealand dollars.²

Secondly, there are some fees. You’ll pay £1.50 or the currency equivalent to withdraw cash at ATMs, and 2% commission applies to purchases made in UK Pounds.²

The Wise card - a convenient alternative to exchanging currency

Of course, services like Tesco Bank Travel Money aren’t the only way to get your holiday spending sorted.

If you’re after better exchange rates and a cash-free solution, check out the Wise card.

The Wise card is the ideal alternative to foreign currency exchange services. It’s a contactless international debit card, which can be used in 150+ countries - anywhere that Mastercard and Visa are accepted. This means you can spend in shops, restaurants, bars and transport hubs worldwide.

When you spend, the card automatically converts your pounds to the local currency at the mid-market exchange rate. No margins, no markups. There’s just a small currency conversion fee, or there’s no charge if you already have the currency in your Wise account.

Need cash? No problem. The Wise card lets you withdraw up to £200 a month (2 or less withdrawals) with no fee. Although you’ll need to watch out that overseas ATM operators don’t charge their own fee.

With the Wise card, there’s no need to worry about ordering foreign currency, or the potential security risks of carrying cash around. You can just tap and spend like a local, knowing you’re getting a great exchange rate.

What’s more, you can manage your account, card and spending on the move, using the handy Wise app.

Open a Wise multi-currency account online and you can get a Wise card for a one-time cost of just £7, with no subscription fees.

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

And that’s it - the full lowdown on Tesco Bank Travel Money and how it works.

If you prefer to have foreign currency in cash before your trip, it’s a decent option - especially as there aren’t any commission fees. You can also just pop into your local Tesco store (with an FX bureau) and get your travel money there and then.

It’s just worth doing a quick comparison on those exchange rates, as you could get quite a bit more currency for your pounds elsewhere.

Sources used:

  1. Tesco Bank - Travel Money
  2. Tesco Bank - Travel Money - Buy in Store

Sources last checked on date: 24-Aug-2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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