M&S to launch holiday money cashpoints
Marks & Spencer is to launch commission-free euro and dollar cash machines in 40 of its UK stores.
The machines, which will offer the same exchange rates at M&S bureaux de change and telephone/internet services, will be available to all LINK debit cards and MasterCard credit card customers. M&S credit card customers are able to use the machines without incurring a cash withdrawal charge. They will also receive 55 days' interest-free credit.
Although M&S will not charge non-customers for withdrawals, some banks and credit cards providers might, so it is advisable to check before using the machines. The machines will issue up to £500 worth of euros or dollars.
Fraser Millar, head of travel at M&S Money, says: "Our new foreign currency cash machines will make life even easier for travelers getting their travel money. Buying before you travel is always recommended as it avoids paying over the odds at the airport."
Although M&S does offer one of the more competitive exchange rates on the high street – alongside Travelex and the Post Office – when it comes to buying your travel money it is also a good idea to check online deals, as these may prove more competitive still.
Steve Willey, head of travel money at moneysupermarket.com, says: "This is a good move by M&S which brings great convenience to its customer base as the summer holiday season approaches. Convenience aside though, M&S exchange rates are not the most competitive.”
Willey recommends the Nationwide Flex debit card as the best plastic to for making withdrawals overseas as there are no extra charges.
He adds: “If you are stuck with an uncompetitive debit or credit card and don't have time to get a new one, the Caxton FX or Fair FX pre-paid cards are good options, allowing you to budget well and only spend what is on the card."
The difference between two currencies; specifically how much one currency is worth relative to each other. For example, if £1 is worth $1.50, converting sterling to US dollars, the exchange rate is 1.5. Converting dollars to sterling at those levels, the exchange rate is 0.66, so $1 is worth 66p. There are a wide variety of factors that influence the exchange rate, such as a country’s interest rates, inflation, and the state of politics and the economy in that country.
Issued by a bank as part of a current account and, in a nutshell, serves as electronic cash. Unlike a credit or charge card, where you get an interest-free period before you have to settle the bill, the funds spent on a debit card are withdrawn immediately from your current account. Unless you’ve arranged an overdraft, if you don’t have the cash in the account, you can’t spend it.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.