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A rise in travel spending
May 20th, 2014 by elisa

Positive growth for the travel industry as Mastercard Advisors report a rise in travel spending in three out of the first four months of this year.

Group head and senior vice president at Mastercard Advisors, Sarah Quinlan, said sales growth has been rising steadily throughout the early part of 2014, which is “a vast improvement” on 2013 overall.

The sunny weather and rising wages in April have made a positive impact on the travel sector.

“Travel businesses in the UK should be encouraged by the positive sales growth in April,” she said.

“As the economy strengthens we would expect to see momentum build this year with consumers becoming confident to spend hard earned wages on summer holidays or short city breaks rather than saving everything for a rainy day.”

Overall, retail sales are up 5.5% year-on-year in April, however, Quinlan still warns that any increased travel expenditure will be gradual, as wages have only shown slow improvement and discretionary spending on travel is still a luxury for many.

High airport foreign exchange rates
Jan 9th, 2013 by elisa

Search for the best exchange rates - picture by Flickr user Images of Money

Search for the best exchange rates – picture by Flickr user Images of Money

A Sunday Times report found that customers are being charged up to 8% more in foreign exchange rates in airports than online. 

Companies offering ‘commission-free’ transactions are not necessarily any cheaper either. The increase in their prices are often made up through the rate they give. A customer changing £500 could be charged £40 more than on a more competitive online rate.

The issue is that when customers buy at an airport, they are forced to take the rate that they are given, as there is nowhere else to go. This ‘convenience’ is one of the reasons companies give for charging more. Other factors include higher rents for retail spaces at airports, as well as higher insurance, and the cost of transporting the money for the consumer’s convenience of buying at the airport.

The Financial Services Authority confirmed that is does not regulate foreign exchange rates. A spokesperson for the Office of Fair Trading said they had not ‘written off’ the issue, but companies had so far provided a good argument for the higher charges.

Martin Lewis, founder of the Moneysavingexpert.com, said: “We have a real problem with the lack of foreign exchange currency legislation. The advice is don’t just go and change at the airport. They can charge what they like.”

Advice to avoid the sting of higher charges would be to avoid buying at the airport, plan in advance and use an online comparison tool to get the best rate, such as moneysavingexpert.com’s online comparison tool.

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