Tui travel money: Foreign Currency Rates & Fees explained

Wise
08.11.18
4 minute read

When you're travelling outside the UK, you'll likely need some currency for the place you're going to. This can take the form of cash or - increasingly - a travel credit card or debit card, which can be used in the much same way as a British card. The difference is that the card is loaded with foreign currency already, which can help you avoid what are sometimes very high fees for converting to and from pounds.

Tui is among the world's largest international travel and tourism groups, with its headquarters in Germany¹. In Britain, the company has replaced the older brand Thomson with Tui², which you'll now see on its websites and shop fronts.

Tui travel money: Do they offer cash or card?

Tui offers several ways to get money for your holiday or business trip. The one you should pick will depend on your personal preferences and needs, so compare travel money cards and cash offers to see which suits you best. You can choose from:

  • Cash - the simplest option, and still sometimes the only workable one if you're travelling to remote areas

  • Card - the reloadable Tui Travel Money card offers 13 reloadable currencies³

  • Travellers' cheque card - a modern, plastic equivalent of the traditional paper travellers' cheques

Cash

Tui allows you to pickup cash both offline, via a Tui Holiday Store, or you can order online. With their Click and Collect option, you can order up to one week in advance and pick up from any store. If you need your money quickly, there's a home delivery option, though of course this comes with extra fees. This allows you to use Royal Mail Special Delivery and get your cash the next working day, so long as you order before 1pm.⁴ There's a wide choice of currencies, with more than 50 available.⁵

Card

Tui's Multi-Currency card is backed by Mastercard,⁶ making it useable in any of the millions of locations worldwide that accept Mastercard payments. It's available in 13 currencies including pounds sterling, the US, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars, Euro, the South African rand and the UAE dirham. This prepaid card can be loaded with a maximum of £6,000 and you can withdraw up to £500 a day. You can top up your card in a Tui store or by using an online account⁷ or the Tui app.⁸

Travellers' Cheque

Tui no longer offers traditional paper travellers' cheques. These have become less common in the era of widely accepted card payments, and have several disadvantages. Drawbacks include patchy acceptance, transaction fees and the sometimes cumbersome process of balance-checking. Instead, Tui now provides a Travellers' Cheque Card⁹ which is backed by American Express and can be loaded with between £200 and £3,000. The card can also be used to pay for goods or get cash at ATMs like a debit card, making it a much more convenient option than old-fashioned travellers' cheques.

How much does it cost to buy holiday money from Tui?

This varies depending on the product you choose. It's important to compare travel cards and cash, but in brief:

  • Cash - if you order more than £600 or the equivalent, you won't pay for postage. Otherwise, it's £2.95.¹⁰ If you buy online, there's a buy-back guarantee¹¹, but this isn't offered if you choose to use a Holiday Shop.

  • Travel Money Card - Tui's fees for this card vary.¹² Initial loading and topping up with a debit card are free, as are purchases made with the Tui card, but credit card top-ups are charged at 2% or 3%. Fees for ATM withdrawals vary by country, but average around USD 3. If you don't use your card for two years, the same fee is deducted monthly.

  • Travellers' Cheque Card - Since these cards are offered by American Express, their terms and conditions apply.¹³ Fees vary according to the currency chosen, but there is a small initial cost, plus a charge of around £2 to withdraw cash from ATMs.

What exchange rate does Tui give me?

Current online rates are shown on the Tui Travel Money site¹⁴ - you'll need to visit a branch to see their offline rates. The company says that there is 0% commission, but this doesn't take account of exchange rate markup.¹⁵ You might imagine you're getting a great deal, but in fact the numbers have been tweaked by the company to ensure a nice profit. There's nothing unusual about this. Most travel money companies do it - but it's hitting you in the pocket. The only truly fair exchange rate is the mid-market rate¹⁶. That's the one you should really be getting.

Do I need to get my holiday money in store or can I order it online?

If you have a Tui Holiday Store nearby¹⁷, you may find it more convenient to pop in there. Otherwise, ordering online could be the better bet. The exception is if you live in Jersey or Northern Ireland, where online is your only option¹⁸.

What other travel money options do I have?

There are many ways to get your travel money, so it's a good idea to shop around. Different people will have different needs - you may need to get local currency out of an ATM abroad,¹⁹ and if so you'll need to look for a service that provides that ability. Borderless accounts²⁰ streamline the process of sending, receiving or spending money abroad, with much lower fees and ready-to-go bank details. Make sure you check if this service is available to you²¹, as you can end up saving a packet.

Conclusion and summary

Tui offers a range of products for those traveling overseas and wanting a quick way to get funds in the right currency. Even so, you may be missing out if you don't compare travel money cards and cash offers. Everyone's needs are different, so choosing a travel credit card could be right for one person and not for another. In particular, when you compare travel cards, make sure that the travel money options you pick aren't costing you more than they should.

Enjoy your trip!

Sources

[1] https://www.tuigroup.com/en-en/investors/FAQ (4 Nov 2018)

[2]https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/thomson-tui-uk-biggest-holiday-firm-rebranded-destination-u-emotional-intelligence-a8005971.html (4 Nov 2018)

[3] https://www.money4travel.com/tuiuk/travel-money-card (4 Nov 2018)

[4] https://www.money4travel.com/tuiuk/shop (5 Nov 2018)

[5] https://www.money4travel.com/tuiuk/exchange-rates (4 Nov 2018)

[6] https://www.money4travel.com/tuiuk/travel-money-card (4 Nov 2018)

[7] https://portal.prepaytec.com/chopinweb/scareMyLogin.do?customerCode=202192018122 (4 Nov 2018)

[8]https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.penrillian.tui.mobileaccountmanagement&hl=en_GB (4 Nov 2018)

[9] https://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/info/travellers-cheque-card (4 Nov 2018)

[10] https://www.money4travel.com/tuiuk/terms-and-conditions (4 Nov 2018)

[11] https://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/holiday-extras.html (4 Nov 2018)

[12] https://www.money4travel.com/tuiuk/travel-money-card (4 Nov 2018)

[13] https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/travel/travellers-cheques/index.html (4 Nov 2018)

[14] https://www.money4travel.com/tuiuk/shop (4 Nov 2018)

[15] https://wise.com/gb/blog/one-real-exchange-rate (4 Nov 2018)

[16] https://wise.com/gb/mid-market-rate (4 Nov 2018)

[17] https://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/shop-finder (4 Nov 2018)

[18] https://www.money4travel.com/tuiuk/frequently-asked-questions (4 Nov 2018)

[19] https://wise.com/au/blog/choose-local-currency-at-foreign-atm (4 Nov 2018)

[20] https://wise.com/gb/borderless/ (4 Nov 2018)

[21] https://wise.com/gb/borderless/#coverage (4 Nov 2018)


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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