Gatwick Airport Currency Exchange: Should you exchange money at the airport?

TransferWise
23.04.19
6 minute read

It always amazing to go away on holiday, but travelling abroad often means you’ll have a lot to organise before hand. There’s typically a lot to plan and remember -including passports, tickets and your travel money. If you’re heading off on a last minute city break, taking a business trip or going on a dream beach holiday, you’ll need to use the local currency when you get to your destination.

Airport currency exchange kiosks offer a very convenient way to change your money into a new currency. The trouble is they may not offer the best exchange rates or the cheapest fees, so you may not get the best deal available.

By thinking ahead and planning your currency exchange, you can get more for your money - and it’s really simple to do. The Transferwise multi-currency account gives you an account to spend with around the world, and it includes a Mastercard Debit card to use in ATMs and pay in local currencies while you’re abroad.

Now, back to all you need to know about Gatwick airport currency exchange. Is exchanging your money at Gatwick the best option for you?

How to convert currency at Gatwick airport? Can you order currency online?

Gatwick airport partners with Moneycorp for onsite currency exchange services. There are 18+ Moneycorp branches¹ throughout the airport, located in the North terminal departure and arrival halls, and South terminal departure and arrival halls². Moneycorp have units that stay open 24/7 in both Gatwick North and South terminals, so they are always available around the clock³.

Passengers can buy their currency on the day they travel from any of the Moneycorp locations at Gatwick airport - but it’s worth remembering you’ll get a better deal by pre-ordering your currency online in advance³. Moneycorp offer online orders so travellers can pre-order their currency and pick up their money at one of the airport counters as they pass through Gatwick on their journey⁴. To reserve your currency from home before you fly, simply visit the Moneycorp website and place an order.

Moneycorp hold currencies for all of the destination countries served directly from Gatwick, alongside many others with over 50 currencies available³.

There are Moneycorp ATMs in both the North and South terminals at Gatwick, with cash machines available both before and after security control. The cash machines accept all valid UK bank cards and there is no charge for using this service to withdraw local currency (GBP)³.

For those who prefer the cashless option when going abroad, Moneycorp also offer The Explorer multi-currency MasterCard. With this prepaid card it’s possible to load multiple currencies to one card and withdraw your money as you travel, or to spend in local currency in shops and online³.

Need holiday money, or looking to exchange currency for your next trip? TransferWise may be able to save you money

Planning your next trip, and wondering how you are going to be able to spend in the local currency of the place that you are visiting - but also get the most value for your money? TransferWise might be able to help with this.

Rather than getting your travel money when you’re in the airport, why not check out TransferWise’s free borderless multi-currency account and free debit MasterCard. And give it a try.

You can open a borderless account online for free, and get a linked debit card to make spending overseas easy. You can then spend in the local currency almost anywhere in the world.

Banks and currency conversion providers often give you a bad exchange rate to make extra profits. TransferWise is different. Its smart new technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Oh, and TransferWise gives you the most fair exchange rate out there, the mid-market exchange rate.

It couldn’t be simpler - and because you’ll avoid many of the costs of regular airport currency exchange services, you may find that you have more to spend on yourself while you’re travelling.

Now, back to what you came here to read.

Exchanging your money at the airport may sound convenient - but are you really getting the best exchange rate?

When you make your choice on how to get your travel money, it makes sense to know how exchange rates work and what rates are available first. The first thing to know is, how you get your money makes a difference to the exchange rate you’ll get.

For instance, Moneycorp do not offer a flat exchange rate for their online orders and for exchanges placed at Gatwick airport. Instead the exchange rate on offer differs between the two methods.³

Secondly, in order to see how the exchange rate on offer from Moneycorp compares, you can perform a Google search to find out the mid-market exchange rate. The mid-market exchange rate is set by banks and traders as the midpoint between the current demand and supply for a currency. The mid-market rate is affected by supply and demand and because of that exchange rates between currencies are fluid and change all the time.

Unfortunately for travellers, providers usually only use the mid-market rate when trading currencies with other banks. Customers don’t get the mid-market rate, or as good a deal. Banks and services may add a markup on the mid-market exchange rate to make money for their business and you won’t get as much travel money as you may have hoped.

In order to get the most from your money you need to find an exchange rate that is as close to the mid-market rate as possible. This is not as difficult as you may think if you know which service to use. TransferWise uses the mid-market rate with just a small fee to pay for converting your currency.

What are the fees to exchange currency at the airport?

Before purchasing your travel money at Gatwick, take a look at the costs involved. The table shows prices charged by Moneycorp for some common exchange services. This is not an exhaustive list of prices and you can find more details on the Moneycorp website.

Service Fee
Currency exchange for collection at Heathrow Airport 0% Commission on online Reserve & Collect orders⁴ Possible exchange rate markup A card processing fee might be added by your card provider if you pay using a credit or debit card Moneycorp may levy for paying for the Contract using a credit or charge card, which will be displayed at the relevant Moneycorp Bureau⁵
Buy Back guarantee: allows you to sell back unused currency at the rate you bought it From £3.99 charge if buying less than £500 of currency⁶
Administration Fees Possible administration fee charge of up to £10 for changing an order
Explorer Card - Loading / Card Replacement Free card load / reload £10.00 Card replacement fee
Explorer Card - Fee charged to use at Merchants (e.g. shops and restaurants) in the UK. Some Merchants may charge their own fee 3.00%
Explorer Card - Foreign exchange feeFee charged if using your Card for a transaction in a currency not on your Card or if you don’t have enough balance in the local Currency and the rest is taken from another Currency wallet 4.99%
Explorer Card - Monthly inactivity fee £3 monthly fee charged after a 12-month period of you not using your Card for transactions or to load, including after the Agreement has ended.⁸

Travel money can be complicated and while choosing to get your currency exchanged in the airport offers a lot of convenience it can be an expensive option.

If you’d rather have the best of both worlds on your next travel adventure, whether that’s for business, a family holiday or an impromptu city break - there is a way.

Opening a TransferWise multi-currency account to exchange your currency online is simple, and it’s easy to use abroad. Spend money while you travel with the debit MasterCard. Your account will always use the mid-market exchange rate, giving you a better deal and all the convenience you need.

Sources used:

1.https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/shopping-eating/shops/moneycorp/
2.https://www.moneycorp.com/en-gb/travel-money/find-a-branch/bureaux-de-change-at-gatwick-airport/
3.https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/passenger-services/currency-cash/
4.https://www.moneycorp.com/en-gb/travel-money/reserve-and-collect/
5.https://travelmoney.moneycorp.com/checkout/collect/index
6.https://www.moneycorp.com/en-gb/legal/buyback-guarantee-terms-and-conditions/
7.https://www.moneycorp.com/en-gb/travel-money/buyback-guarantee/
8.https://www.moneycorp.com/globalassets/documents/uk/retail/explorer/uk-trav-explorer-card-issuer-change-2018.pdf

All sources checked on 22-April 2019.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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