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Travellers who buy their currencies at UK airports are being offered as little as 86 cents to the pound.
Foreign exchange broker FairFx, who carried out a survey for the BBC, found that the worst rate at any airport bureau de change was from Moneycorp at Southampton airport where a pound buys 86 cents in euros.
How much a £1 buys you….
Southampton Airport: 0.86 euros
Heathrow Terminal 2: 0.91 euros
Stansted Airport: 0.91 euros
Newcastle Airport: 1.05 euros
The survey also found that the average euro rate across 16 UK airports was higher at 95 euros, but down from the average of 99 euros ten months ago.
James Hickman, chief commercial officer at FairFX said that these low rates, which are worse than at high street banks, shows that airport bureaux de change companies are taking advantage of travelers.
“In reality they are ripping off the customer, who is effectively captive as they have nowhere else to buy their money at an airport,” he said.
“At most airports and terminals individual companies have a monopoly.
“They should be regulated as there is simply no justification for charging someone 14 per cent [the average margin between the tourist and money market rates] to change their pounds to euros,” he added.
Pauline Maguire, Moneycorp’s retail director, said: “The reason for our higher airport rates is the significant cost associated with operating there – from ground rent and additional security, to the cost of staffing the bureaux for customers on early and late flights.”
“An easy and more cost-effective way for customers to buy travel money is to pre-order online and collect at the airport,” she said.
The best euro rate for tourists detected in the airport survey was 1.05 euros, from Travelex at Newcastle airport.