Martin Lewis warns UK tourists asked whether they want to 'pay in pounds' abroad

Martin Lewis has explained what to do if you're asked "whether you want to pay in pounds" on holiday. The BBC Sounds and ITV star has spoken out in his latest Money Saving Expert (MSE) newsletter as he shared his guidance with his followers.

Mr Lewis issued advice on 13 ways to 'slash the cost of spending abroad and save £100s'. "What should you say when they ask - 'do you want to pay in pounds?'," Mr Lewis asked. "These days, buy most things abroad and the store will pressure you to pay in pounds (as will overseas ATMs), but is it the right thing to do?"

They say: "In short, the answer's NO. The main reason is if you say yes, the overseas bank does the conversion and the rates are poor. Yet say pay in 'local currency', and it's your card doing the conversion. And especially if you've a specialist card, that means the rate is near-perfect."

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"Some top specialist overseas cards don't add [the charge], so you get that day's same near-perfect, bureau-de-change-beating exchange rates the bank does," MSE said. Mr Lewis said: "If you get a specialist overseas card, then there is no doubt that using it and paying in euros is always correct.

"Yet even without one of these, if you're using your plastic abroad, while there's a very minor gain with one bank for paying in pounds – it's negligible. Whereas get it wrong, and you can lose out a lot. So for safety and simplicity's sake, the golden rule is if using a card and you’re asked whether you want to pay in pounds or pay in local currency (for example Euros) ALWAYS say the local currency (the same almost certainly applies US dollars when in the States or other currencies elsewhere too)."