Post Office Travel Money: Exchange rate, Locations and Opening Times
This guide covers all you need if you want to sort your travel money through the Post Office, including a look at how the Post Office exchange rate is calculated, and your options if you want to use the Post Office travel money card.
We’ll also take a look at how Wise and the Wise account can help you cut the costs of spending while you’re abroad, so you can make the most of your holiday.
Post Office exchange rate
Let’s start with the basics. Whenever you’re buying travel money you need to know the exchange rate which will be used to convert your pounds to euros, dollars or whichever other currency you might require.
Unfortunately, figuring out the exchange rates used by different providers can be a tricky affair. You’ll find different banks and currency services use different rates - and some providers like the Post Office also offer different exchange rates depending on the amount you want to convert.
To give an example, let’s look at the Post Office euro exchange rate, as well as the rate to switch to US dollars:
|Amount you want to convert||£400+||£500+||£1000+|
|Euro exchange rate (1GBP = EUR)||1.081||1.0967||1.1023|
|Dollar exchange rate (1GBP = USD)||1.2837||1.3024||1.309|
Exchange rates correct at time of research (24th November 2020)
As you can see, you get a progressively better exchange rate, the more you convert. However, it’s not quite that simple. These rates reflect the Post Office travel money online service only. If you’re using a Post Office travel card, or simply walk into a Post Office travel money bureau to switch your cash, you may get a different rate. Post Office branch exchange rates vary from one branch to another, too, depending on where the branch is located and competition.
The range of exchange rates out there is confusing. But the way to know if you’re getting a good deal or not is to compare the exchange rate you’re offered against the mid-market exchange rate for your currency. That’s the rate set by global currency markets, and the ones banks and exchange services get when they buy currency themselves. You can find the mid-market rate online using a Google search or reputable currency converter tool.
If the rate you’re being offered isn’t the same as the live mid-market rate you find online this probably means your provider has added a markup. This is an extra fee and makes it hard to see exactly what you’re paying for your travel money.
Avoid this by choosing a provider like Wise (formerly TransferWise) which uses the mid-market exchange rate with no markups, and charges transparent fees for currency conversion.
Post Office Click and Collect
With Post Office Click and Collect you can order your currency online. You’ll then be able to call into your Post Office exchange bureau to collect your travel money, or have it delivered to your home.
Here are the fees and delivery times for the Click and Collect service - where there is no upfront fee, you may be paying a charge wrapped up in the exchange rate used:
|Delivery/Collection||Fee and wait time|
|Collection at Post Office foreign exchange desk||No fee. Euros and dollars could be ready in as little as 2 hours. Other currencies should be ready for collection on the next working day|
|Secure home delivery||£4.99 for orders of under £500, free for travel money above this amount. Orders are delivered using Royal Mail guaranteed by 1pm service, and delivered next day if ordered by 3pm on a weekday.|
What are the fees for getting travel money with the Post Office?
The Post Office advertises 0% commission - which sounds like the only fee you’ll need to pay is the delivery fee for smaller orders brought to your doorstep.
Many banks and currency services use a sounding headline like ‘zero commission’ or ‘fee free travel money’ - but add a markup to the exchange rates offered to customers instead. This can mean you’re paying more than you think you are for your currency exchange.
Compare the exchange rates you find with the Post Office against the mid-market exchange rate to see if a markup has been added.
Save with Wise when you spend in any currency
A smart way to cut the costs of your travel money is to use Wise.
The simplest way to access great value currency exchange which uses the real mid-market exchange rate with no markup, is to open a free Wise account online.
You can top up your account in pounds and switch to the currency you need using your laptop or mobile device. Simply use your linked Wise debit card Mastercard to spend when you’re overseas - or you can choose to take out local currency using an ATM when you arrive instead.
It’s free to spend any currency you hold using your linked debit card, and you can withdraw up to the currency equivalent of £200 per month from ATMs abroad with no additional Wise fee. It’s simple, cheap and can make it much easier to access and manage your money while you travel.
Post Office travel money products
Here’s a run through of the basic services available from Post Office travel money. It’s worth knowing that not all services are available at all Post Office branches so you’ll need to check your local options online.
1. Post Office Click and Collect
Order up to £2,500 of foreign currency for collection or home delivery. Euros and US dollars can be picked up in as little as 2 hours, with 60 currencies usually available.
2. Post Office foreign exchange
You can buy currency in a Post Office without ordering in advance too - but availability may be limited so it makes sense to check if they’ll have what you need at your local Post Office branch. If your currency is not available immediately you can order for home delivery instead.
3. Post Office Travel Money Card
The Post Office also has a travel money card which lets you top up in 23 different currencies, and spend wherever you see the Mastercard logo. More on that in a moment.
Post Office travel money bureau - exchange locations
You can get a full list of every UK Post Office online - or use the search function which is available on the Post Office Travel Money website.
Post Office foreign currency London
Here are some of the major Post Office locations offering travel money services in central London - find more branches using the branch finder tool on the Post Office website.
|Post Office branch - travel money||Opening times||Location|
|11 Regent Street St. James's, London, SW1Y 4LR||Monday to Friday: 9:30-17:30, Saturdays: 11:00 - 16:00Sundays: 11:00 - 14.00, then 14:15 - 16:00||Map|
|Queensland House, 393 Strand, London, WC2R 0LT||Monday to Friday: 9:30-17:30, Saturdays: 10:00 - 17:00, Sundays: 12:00 - 16:00||Map|
|181 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7RL||Monday to Friday: 9:30-18:00, Saturdays: Closed, Sundays: Closed||Map|
|1 Broadway, London, SW1H 0AX||Monday to Friday: 9:30-18:00 (Tuesday 9:30 opening), Saturdays: Closed, Sundays: Closed||Map|
|95 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4JN||Monday to Friday: 9:30-18:00, Saturdays: Closed, Sundays: Closed||Map|
Travel money card London
Travel money services are not available at every single Post Office in the UK. For that reason it’s worth checking the options at the branches near you before you head out.
In most cases, major branches offer travel money services as well as the Post Office travel money cards. You can find details about the services on offer by branch using the branch locator on the Post Office travel money website.
Post Office travel money online
Order your travel money online and select whether you want to collect it in branch or have it delivered to your home. You’ll be able to pay online using a card, although there may be additional fees - check with your own card provider.
Does the Post Office offer a travel money card?
You can get a Post Office travel money card, to top up and spend in foreign currencies as you travel. 23 popular currencies are available, so you can top up in pounds and then switch to the currency you need using the Post Office travel money app. The card is accepted anywhere you see the Mastercard logo.
Get your card online and have it delivered to your home, or apply in a Post Office branch for quicker service. You’ll need to take your ID documents along when you do this.
There are also some limits and fees you need to know about. Check out the full details online to see the minimum and maximum top up amounts and balance, as well as the costs when you make an ATM withdrawal. For example, if you withdraw in euros from an ATM there's a EUR2 charge per withdrawal - in USD you’ll pay $2.50 USD per withdrawal.
The Post Office travel money services are convenient and can largely be accessed online - but it’s well worth understanding the fees you’ll pay for getting your foreign currency. Look carefully at the exchange rates you can access through the Post Office, to see if there's a markup added to the mid-market exchange rate for your currency. This is an extra cost which can push the price of your travel money up unexpectedly.