Money expert Martin Lewis reveals the one button holidaymakers should NEVER press when they’re abroad
Money expert Martin Lewis has warned Britons that there’s one button they should never press while holidaying overseas.
When travellers take out money from an ATM or pay with their debit or credit card abroad, they’re typically asked whether they’d like to pay in the local currency or in British pounds.
Martin explained that people should never push the ‘convert to GBP’ button, as a markup cost is likely to be added to carry out the conversion.
On an episode of ITV’s Martin Lewis Money Show, the 51-year-old travelled to Malaga, Spain, and demonstrated how ATMs charge you to carry out a conversion, noting: ‘[The ATM] says “markup 4.5 per cent”, so they are adding a 4.5 per cent load on top of the exchange rate.
‘You do not want this machine to do the conversion for you.
Money expert Martin Lewis has warned Britons that there’s one button they should never press while holidaying overseas
‘You want your card company at home to do the conversion because, even if it’s not a good card, it’s a better rate. Continue with conversion? No way, it’s going to cost me 20 quid more than it should.’
He added that the machine’s offer of carrying out a conversion is a ‘psychological scare tactic’ that travellers can be victim to, adding: ‘Do not pay to pay.
‘When you go into a shop, when you go to a cash machine, and it says “do you want us to do the conversion for you”, no, no, no. Pay in the local currency.’
The TV personality, who founded the website MoneySavingExpert.com, also recommends that travellers get a specialist overseas debit or credit card to take advantage of the ‘near-perfect’ exchange rates they offer.
Mr Lewis explained: ‘What normally happens when you spend on plastic abroad is when you spend on the card, the bank or the card provider gets a near-perfect rate and they add a 3 per cent non-sterling exchange rate fee.
‘This means you get £100 worth of euros, dollars, or dong, which is the Vietnamese currency… but it costs you £103 because of the extra 3 per cent.’
‘Continue with conversion? No way, it’s going to cost me 20 quid more than it should,’ Nr Lewis says when taking money out of an ATM abroad (stock image)
‘But the specialist cards don’t add that 3 per cent and you get the near-perfect rates that they do.’
According to Mr Lewis, the specialist cards worth opting for currently are the Barclaycard Rewards credit card, the Chase debit card and the Halifax Clarity credit card.
Another way travellers can conserve holiday cash is by picking a destination where their pound is guaranteed to stretch further in the first place.
Earlier this year, Post Office Travel Money revealed that Cape Town in South Africa is the world’s best-value holiday hotspot for Britons in 2023.
It’s followed by Marmaris in Turkey in second place and Sunny Beach in Bulgaria in third. Meanwhile, Reykjavik in Iceland was revealed to be the worst-value holiday destination for British holidaymakers.
Viewers can catch up on episodes of The Martin Lewis Money Show on the ITVX player.