If you are travelling to the UK you might want to bring some cash with you.
Don’t assume that somewhere offering “commission-free” currency will give you the best deal.
Exchange rates will change every day – and there has been a lot of volatility recently with Sterling exchange rates as Brexit gets closer.
(See the Latest Exchange Rates here).
We carried out a quick comparison of some currency exchange companies in Ireland to find out the Best Place to Buy Sterling cash in Ireland.
Tip: If you are looking for information about sending money to a bank in the UK – you should read our article on the Best Way To Transfer Money to the UK From Ireland
Buying Sterling Cash in Ireland :
We checked how much it would cost in Euros to buy £700 GBP Sterling cash. We compared the figures from the currency companies websites at roughly the same time on 17th October 2020. All the exchange companies we used in the comparison say they do not charge commission.
- 1: An Post currency exchange were quoting a price of €7929 for buying £700 Pounds. An Post currency don’t allow online ordering, you have to go to a Post Office branch that does currency exchange. This service is only available in larger towns and cities. An Post only sells Sterling and US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars and Polish Zloty.
- At CurrencyExchange.ie they were quoting a price of €792.21 for £700 Sterling. Customers can reserve currency online for collection and pay for it when they pick it up. But- CurrencyExchange.ie only have 2 pick up locations in central Dublin, they do not deliver.
- At the No1 Currency Website where it would cost you €795.54 for £700 GBP. You can order the Sterling online and have the convenience of getting the cash delivered to your door for free. The delivery is by An Post registered post and is fully insured. (Orders under €750 cost €9.95 for delivery) . They deal in several currencies – and you can check current exchange rates on the No1 Currency Website
- Bank of Ireland quoted €794 for £700 plus a fee of €6.35 – so that would be a total of €800.35
- The worst deal we found was from ICE ( International Currency Exchange) http://www.ice-ireland.ie . They would charge €821 for £700 GB Pounds. You can reserve your currency online and then collect it and pay for it at their Dublin Airport kiosks.
Non Cash Transfers
If you are thinking of buying a car or other large value purchases in the UK – you should not be planning on paying in cash. Using Currency Fair is a good way to transfer money to the UK . See below for their current rates.
See more information on the Best Way to Pay for a Used car in the UK.
More Alternatives to Cash When Visiting the UK
Paying by card is an option to consider when paying in Sterling when you are in the UK or doing online shopping.
TransferWise has been operating for over 9 years and is is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations. Their “borderless account” comes with a debit card and a smartphone app . You can add and convert money, get instant notifications, and freeze or unfreeze your card anytime.
You can pay in Sterling , Euros, US Dollars and AU Dollars . There are conversion fees but the exchange rates they use are better than Visa or Mastercard.
ATM cash withdrawals are free for the first £200 a month .
Another option if you are regularly purchasing from the UK or other non-euro countries is the N26 Bank Account. This is an “online-only” bank account based in Germany with a European banking licence.
They already have several thousand Irish customers.
The N26 account comes with a Mastercard Debit Card , which has no fees when making purchases in non-Euro currencies. The exchange rate will be the same as any other Mastercard). See other banks fees here.
Another option is to get a bunq Travel Card . This prepaid card uses the Mastercard exchange rate with no foreign exchange fees. It costs €9.99. The Bunq Travel card is a prepaid Mastercard credit card but you can only spend the balance you have on it. The card is treated as a credit card by payment terminals and can be used for car hire and hotel reservations, unlike debit cards. (as long as you have enough money loaded on it) . No credit checks are required. All funds are covered by the Dutch banking guarantee.
Revolut is a digital payment provider (not a bank) that has a fee-free debit card for spending in foreign currencies. It also allows you to have a UK Sterling account and a Euro account. Revolut is also available in Ireland. See a Comparison of Revolut and N26 here
When outside the Eurozone if you still need to use cash because some retailers don’t take cards – there is also the option of using an ATM abroad to withdraw Sterling etc – see more here for details of ATM Charges Abroad.
See out page on some Money saving Tips when Visiting London