Wednesday 12 October 2016

Shocking Rate Now; As Pounds Sterling Continues To Slide Over Hard Brexit Fears

Last week, a flash crash in the value of the pound pushed the exchange rate to lows not seen since the global financial crisis.
Yesterday, official exchange rates settled at €1.10 to the pound and $1.21 to the pound.
But bureaux de change at airports have taken the chance to slash rates to new lows.

Figures collected by Money Mail yesterday showed that at Southampton Airport holidaymakers were being offered just €0.88 to the pound.

That is a huge difference of 25 per cent to the official rate — compared with a typical margin of 10 per cent, according to foreign exchange firm FairFX.
It's grim news for families who are preparing for half term in two weeks.

Unless things improve, those heading to European Christmas markets, autumn sun in the Canaries, or visiting family in South Africa or Canada will find their trips costing hundreds of pounds more than last year. 

In October 2015, when the official exchange rate was €1.349 to the pound, you would get €1,349 for £1,000. Today, £1,000 will get you just €1,110 — €239 fewer.
At London Gatwick Airport yesterday morning, the sense of frustration among tourists heading abroad was in full show.

A couple in their 50s approach the bureau de change in the departure area before security. Again, Moneycorp is the operator here.
The husband's eyes widen as he's told the rate: €0.96 to the pound.
His wife senses a chill in the air and asks: 'Is that bad?'
'Err, yeah,' he replies as they leave without purchasing.

The arrivals lounge is teaming with taxi drivers holding signs and businessmen who have just touched down in the Sussex countryside.

At the bureau de change counter, I again try to get to the bottom of how airports can get away with their extraordinarily mean prices.
I'm offered €235 for £248.

'It just keeps going down and down whenever Theresa May opens her mouth about Europe,' the plump lady behind the counter says.
But the answers we're getting from airport staff don't explain why their rates are so much lower than official exchange rates.

And that's exactly the question customers are asking on websites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, took to Twitter on Sunday to criticise Moneycorp. 

He posted a picture of a screen at Gatwick advertising the rates it was offering customers looking to buy and sell currency and wrote: 'No wonder they shouted at me 'you're not allowed to photograph that'. Disgraceful exchange rate profiteering at Moneycorp Gatwick.'

The picture showed travellers would get just €0.97 for each £1 they changed.
To get the same £1 back, however, it would cost them €1.348.
The difference between these rates is known as the buy and sell spread. The bigger it is, the more money the firm is said to be making from buying and selling currency.

Other Twitter users have expressed similar outrage in the past week, and shared stories of how they've been told off for taking pictures of exchange rate signs at airport bureaux de change.

Adrian Maggs wrote: 'Moneycorp, why do you try and stop people taking photographs of your rates? Are you embarrassed by them? You should be!'
Moneycorp defended its lower airport rates by saying it has to cover significant ground rent, staffing and security costs.
When Money Mail rang around other airports to ask why their rates were so poor, we were repeatedly given the brush off by staff working at currency counters.
They said they had been inundated with calls and many are now refusing to reveal their rates over the phone or explain to disillusioned customers why they are so bad.
When we called Moneycorp at Stansted, the woman who answered told us she wouldn't tell us the walk-up rates over the phone because 'the stock market is changing so much'.
At Southend Airport a woman initially refused to reveal the rate and demanded to know when we were due to fly and where we were going. Eventually, when pressed, she said the rate was roughly one to one.
At Belfast, Edinburgh and Luton, where the currency exchange is run by ICE, staff all willingly revealed their rate as €0.96 to the pound.

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