Cash in on Euros with Sterling at a high
AA Financial Services says that with Sterling remaining high against the Euro, now is a good time for holidaymakers to stock up on Euros.
Cards such as the AA Euro Travel Currency Card allow Euros to be loaded while the exchange rate is favourable, for holiday use later in the year.
At a time of considerable economic uncertainty across Europe the Euro is in turmoil, while hopes of a positive outcome from the forthcoming EU Summit fade. This has helped to strengthen the pound and some analysts expect the Euro to deteriorate further.
Mark Huggins, director of AA Financial Services, says that the current climate presents a good opportunity for people to buy Euros if they are planning to cross the Channel this year, pointing out that over the past three weeks, tourists have been able to get more Euros for their £1 than at any time since 2008.
"The Euro has been hovering at a 22-month low against Sterling," he says. "Compared to its strongest point in March 2009 when the £ and the € were almost at parity, a traveller could now get around £100 more for every £1,000 worth of Euros they buy."
The AA's travel currency card was launched in 2010 and is becoming an increasingly popular way of taking spending money abroad.
The card is loaded with Euros from a linked account, which can allow families to make savings on their holiday spending because it avoids transaction charges when it's used for purchases. Similarly, there is no transaction charge when using an ATM machine if the equivalent of £50 or more is withdrawn at a time.
It offers a more secure option to cash, it's free to load and when the card is loaded, it is immediately converted into Euros allowing users to gain a great exchange rate benefit.
In addition, it provides the opportunity to earn reward points which can be redeemed for cash back, retail vouchers or against purchases of AA products or services; the only prepaid card to offer such generous rewards.
Mr Huggins says that while the Euro-zone remains volatile the Euro could fall further, or start to strengthen again. "But if you are planning to travel, now might be a prudent time to take out a travel card and start loading it with Euros. Keep an eye on the exchange rate and if it falls further, take the opportunity to add to your holiday cash balance."
The AA's website has a useful calculator that identifies the current card exchange rate.
The AA Euro Travel Card costs £9.95 to purchase although this is refundable if the first load is £100-worth of Euros or more. Users can check their balance online, by text message or at many ATMs. The card can also be topped-up free of charge from its linked Euro account by text message.
"This could be the best solution if you plan to use a card in mainland Europe and is useful for a motoring holiday since purchase of fuel earns double reward points. It needn't cost anything except for the exchange rate when the card is loaded, which is one of the most competitive available," Mr Huggins adds.