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

TransferWise
23.04.19
5 minute read

Arranging your travel money is never the most exciting part of planning a holiday or organising an overseas business trip. However, it’s essential if you’ll need local currency wherever you’re headed. You may be able to buy your foreign currency when you arrive at Glasgow Airport, or you can order online and collect from the airport as you pass through. It’s helpful to know, though, that the exchange rates offered at airport currency exchange services are usually not the best available, which can push up your costs.

As an alternative, you can benefit from the very best market rates available, if you use a specialist provider like TransferWise. TransferWise use the Google exchange rate for all currency conversion, and if you open a multi-currency account you’ll also be able to get a debit card for day to day spending, and to make ATM withdrawals wherever you are in the world. More on that - and all you need to know about currency exchange at Glasgow airport, in this guide.

How to convert currency at Glasgow Airport? Can you order currency online?

If you want to buy travel money at Glasgow Airport, you can do so at one of the Travelex desks which are located both before and after security.¹ Order your currency in advance online, and you can collect it quickly as you go through the airport.² Euro and US dollar orders will be ready for collection in just 4 hours, with other currencies available the next day, as long as you order by 3pm.³

If you don’t order your currency in advance, you may still be able to do an on the spot exchange, but for certain currencies, or large orders, this option may not be available. Typically the exchange rates available if you select a currency and order online, are better than those offered for immediate exchange, too.

Travelex also offers a pre-paid travel card called a Cash Passport, if you would rather carry less cash, and load money in advance onto a card to use while you travel. You’ll also be able to make ATM withdrawals in the airport in both pounds and euros, if you need cash and you’re really pushed for time.³

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’re deciding which provider to use for your travel money you’ll need to think about the upfront fees charged, but also the exchange rate used. That’s because many services choose to add a markup to the exchange rate they use, instead of using an upfront fee. They can then advertise exchange services with no commission - but actually, their profit is built into the exchange rate used. Unfortunately, this can make it hard to see what you’re really paying for the currency exchange service - which might mean that it works out more expensive than you expect.⁴

The easy way to check if there's markup added to the exchange rate used, is to compare the rate you’re offered with the mid-market rate. The mid-market rate is the one you’ll find on Google, and it’s the rate used when banks and large exchange services buy currency themselves. That makes it a good benchmark, no matter which currency you’re looking at.

It is also worth taking into consideration, that you will not get the same online rates, if you decide to purchase your travel money on the spot in one of Travelex’s stores, without pre-ordering online. This means that it may best to plan ahead, and pre-order your money to collect in store or be delivered straight to your door.⁵

If you want to see how much your travel money would cost with a provider that uses the mid-market rate for your currency, check out TransferWise. All TransferWise currency services use the mid-market exchange rate, and there’s just a low, transparent fee to pay. That makes it easy to see the real cost of your exchange, and can work out cheaper, too.

What are the fees to exchange currency at the airport?

If you order currency in advance you’ll pay a click and collect fee on amounts under £300. There may also be an exchange rate markup to pay for both on the spot currency conversion, or click and collect orders. Here’s what you can expect to pay:

Order value Fee
Up to £100 Possible exchange rate markup for all orders + click and collect fee of £4.99
£100 to £299.99 Possible exchange rate markup for all orders + click and collect fee of £2.49
£300+ No click and collect fee

If you’d rather, you can also choose to have Travelex deliver foreign currency to your home address. The minimum order value is £100 for this service, and there’s a fee to pay starting at £7.49 for smaller orders. Larger transactions of over £600 are delivered for fee free, although there may still be an exchange rate markup charged.⁵

Getting your travel money at the airport can be an appealing option, especially if you’re in a rush and don’t have a lot of time to order your foreign currency in advance. However, you might well pay a premium for the convenience on offer. Passing trade and a lack of local competition means airport currency exchange services seldom offer the best exchange rates, and you may well pay a fee to guarantee your exchange rate in advance using click and collect.

It can be much cheaper - and more convenient in the long run - to open yourself a specialist account product like the TransferWise multi-currency account. Just top up your account with pounds whenever you need to, and then convert to the local currency wherever you’re going using the mid-market exchange rate. You can then spend using your linked debit card, or use ATMs to get cash then you arrive at your destination. See how you could save with TransferWise, today.

Sources used:

1.https://www.glasgowairport.com/shop-dine/travelex/
2.https://www.travelex.co.uk/stores/glasgow-airport-departure-lounge/1443
3.https://www.glasgowairport.com/at-the-airport/airport-services/currency/
4.https://www.travelex.co.uk/currency/tourist-exchange-rates
5.https://www.travelex.co.uk/faqs#fees-and-charges

All sources checked on 23-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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