How to avoid the foreign currency ‘buy-back’ trap!

Rob Braileanu

 · 09/01/2016  · 09/01/2016

What do you do with your leftover holiday money? Spend it at the airport on cheap souvenirs, leave it in your carry-on bag never to be seen again or take it to the Post Office?


Visa’s research revealed that 39% of British holidaymakers have on average £55.25 in leftover foreign currency in their homes, accumulating to £663m. One in six people surveyed had the equivalent of at least £75 gathering dust. Meanwhile, almost 30% of British travellers go on an airport shopping splurge just to use up their remaining currency. Guilty… 🙈

The remaining 31% of travellers who are proactive enough to head down to the Post Office and exchange their currency back are actually being charged a hidden fee for the privilege.

Here’s why you get charged for currency buyback:

Jane has €65.68 Euros leftover from her holiday in Spain. If you check the interbank rate in your Revolut App (€1-£0.84), you’ll find that Jane should receive £55.25 in exchange for her Euros.

However, the Post Office online would only give Jane £49.01 in return for her €65.68. This means they’re charging Jane a hidden fee of £6.25 to buy-back her currency.


Also, check out the small print: ‘The rates shown here may differ to the actual ‘buy-back’ rates in branch’. In other words, you’re likely to be charged more than £6.25 when you’re actually in the store.

How to avoid these fees:

Avoid withdrawing loads of foreign currency from an ATM whilst you’re away. Use your RevolutCard to pay for your purchases on card. We’ll give you the real interbank rate you find on Google and we won’t charge you a 3% fee to use your card abroad.

If you top-up your RevolutCard in pounds, we’ll convert your balance into the local currency when your card is used abroad. When you get home, just spend the remaining balance on your RevolutCard in the UK or transfer the money back to your bank account.

If you do have some left over currency, don’t let it gather dust! Check out this ‘buy-back’ currency comparison tool to make sure you’re getting the best deal.