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Rise of holiday cash mule

Tourists are short-changing themselves by loading up on foreign currency before going abroad July 11, 2016: Concerns over access to money overseas are causing many holidaymakers to stockpile far more foreign currency than they need.  The trip to the local post office or bank to ‘stock up’ ahead of departure is a tradition which could be costing many of us money in wasted fees whilst making...

Tourists are short-changing themselves by loading up on foreign currency before going abroad

July 11, 2016: Concerns over access to money overseas are causing many holidaymakers to stockpile far more foreign currency than they need.  The trip to the local post office or bank to ‘stock up’ ahead of departure is a tradition which could be costing many of us money in wasted fees whilst making us serious targets for theft.

According to research undertaken on behalf of global money transfer firm Xpress Money, the average British tourist takes up to 40% more cash with them than they intend to spend.

Many tourists still rely on cash for a large proportion of their transactions when overseas and are concerned about access to money during their trip.  This is despite the growing popularity of money transfer services and mobile banking.

“In the past decade, technology has transformed the way we manage our finances. However, when it comes to holidays, many people take a squirrel like approach, travelling with huge sums.” said Sudhesh Giriyan, COO of Xpress Money. “While carrying cash is often a convenient option, carrying large amounts of money around can make you vulnerable to theft or loss.”

In a separate study, over 82% of travellers admitted to buying items at the airport for the sole purpose of using up foreign currency and 78% claimed to have foreign currency that had been sitting at home for more than 12 months.

“Taking unnecessary cash with you abroad can also leave you short-changed,” Giriyan added. “Travelers pay commission when buying foreign currency at the start of their trip and then end up paying again to convert it back into Sterling when they get home.  By using the technology that’s available and planning ahead, you can get more from your money.”

Xpress Money has developed their top five tips for looking after your money when travelling overseas this summer:

  1. Keep your cash and valuables secure – lock your valuables in the safety deposit box in your hotel room and only carry as much cash as you need for that day when leaving the hotel.
  2. Carry cash and cards separately – if you are carrying a large amount of cash with you, don’t keep it all in the same place, and keep your cards in a separate pocket to reduce risk of theft or loss.
  3. Stay safe at the beach – use a waterproof money pouch with a lanyard strap or money belt to keep your cash safe while swimming at the beach.
  4. Use money transfer apps – using money transfer apps such as XOPO to manage your finances can reduce your reliance on cash.
  5. Be discreet – if you keep your valuables in a money belt, take care when removing your cash to avoid advertising the fact to everyone around you. Keep small amounts of notes or coins in a secure pocket so you don’t need to access your money belt for every purchase.

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