Brits heading to France, Spain and Italy can 'save 20 per cent' if they 'do it the right way'

Matt Allwright
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

Holidaymakers could be shelling out 20 per cent more than necessary for making one simple mistake before they jet off. A money guru has shared his top tips on securing the best currency deal before heading to the likes of France, Italy, or Spain.

Matt Allwright appeared on Morning Live to reveal which options were more cost-effective, adding that the way people withdrew money and spent overseas could "make a huge difference". He told BBC viewers: "You can save 20 per cent if you do it the right way rather than the wrong way."

The consumer champion continued: "My top pick is a pre-paid travel card. This is something that typically doesn't require stringent credit checks, you can keep it in your pocket, it arrives at your door within a week or so, and you can regularly top it up with cash using the app on your phone in the currency of your choice, then use it just like your debit card."

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He said: "The beauty of it is it helps you budget. You can load it up every few days and see how much you are spending. Everybody thinks holiday money is free money it is not. It is the same as the rest of the year. And you can check the exchange rate as you make that exchange.

"There are loads of them out there. They have a variety of different fees so some will suit you better. You will know what you are likely to spend so read the details. They are really useful tools to have in your pocket."

Matt said cards could be used to make purchases at shops, or to withdraw money from ATMs abroad, with customers often able to lock in an exchange rate when they load the card. He warned that credit or debit cards were often the wrong choice, adding: "We know that, very often, credit or standard debit cards which you might already have in your pocket already take exchange rates from Visa or MasterCard and add a foreign transaction fee and a Stirling transaction fee those are the terms you need to be looking for from your regular provider.

"That can be up to three per cent, meaning something costing you £100 in foreign currency suddenly costs you £103. It also applies when you are buying foreign currency online. Some debit or credit cards don't apply this fee. Check with your provider because it might be fee-free.

"You are still protected by Section 75 with credit cards - that extra protection you get still works overseas. If you are buying bigger things overseas, that can be a really useful thing to have.

"Some cards, in addition to the three per cent, will penalise you further per transaction for spending money overseas some even more when it is outside the European Economic Area. It could be 50p to £1.50 per transaction if you use one of those cards, making it a very expensive cup of coffee."