Simple trick to getting the best foreign exchange rate at Heathrow

Want to get cash at the airport before you fly? Simple trick to bag the best rate at Heathrow (but you need to order cash a day before)

  • Travelex launches foreign currency ATM click & collect service at Heathrow T5
  • Pre-order cash online at Travelex’s best possible rate and collect it from its ATM 
  • There are no collection fees and cash can be picked up from ATMs at any time
  • Order has to be placed by 1.30pm a business day before 

Travellers are generally urged to exchange currency before getting to the airport, as that’s where you’re most likely get the worst possible rates. 

But Britons wanting to pick up foreign cash before they fly could still get some of the best rates at Heathrow airport thanks to a new service.

Travelex recently launched what is believed to be the first ever foreign currency ATM click and collect service at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Travelex click and collect ATMs are currently only available at Heathrow Terminal 5

Customers departing from the airport can pre-order cash online at Travelex’s best possible rate and collect it from an ATM located at the terminal before they fly.

However, the order has to be placed by 1.30pm a business day before. Travelex said this is because ‘know your customer’ and sanction checks need to be completed.

If you just walked up to a Travelex counter at Heathrow airport on 23 August, £300 would have bought you €292.84 and $290.14.

But pre-ordering would have given you over €50 and $50 more for your pounds – with the same £300 buying €346.09 and $342.90, Travelex said.

How does it work?

You first need to order your currency via the Travelex website and select ATM Click & Collect as the collection method. 

Once your order has been confirmed, you will receive a ‘one time pin’ via SMS to your mobile phone.

You will need this pin, as well as your date of birth and the order confirmation number to collect your currency from an ATM at the terminal. 

If you fail to put the correct information into the ATM for three times, your order will be blocked and you will need to contact Travelex’s support centre. 

‘The service is centred around a robust, secure wallet-based platform, which coupled with Travelex’s industry leading FX ATM processing ensures the service is quick and always available,’ the company said. 

Only euros and dollars are available at the moment, but more currencies are to come

Only euros and dollars are available at the moment, but more currencies are to come

Are there any fees? 

There are no collection fees and you can pick up your cash from the ATMs at any time of day. 

In case you decide to fly at a later date but have already ordered your cash, you have up to three days (72 hours) from your nominated collection date to pick up your cash.

After this time, your order will be cancelled, and although you will be refunded the money, you will incur a £10 cancellation fee. 

How much foreign currency can I order?

How to save money on spending abroad

Travellers may opt for a debit card, credit card, cash – or a mixture of the above – when spending overseas.

You can be penalised for taking the wrong plastic, with fees and charges. That’s why it is important to pick a fee-free option.

Meanwhile, if you don’t pre-order currency, you can also be lumbered with a lousy rate.

Read our guide: From the best debit cards and credit cards, to cash… how to get more bang for your buck

Currently, customers can pre-order and withdraw up to $800 or €800 via the click and collect airport service.

Only euros and dollars are available at the moment, but Travelex said other currencies and more ATMs at Heathrow are in the pipeline. 

The service will be launched at Brisbane Airport in Australia in the next few weeks and at two more ‘major’ UK airports in the coming months.

Fraser Brown, director of retail at Heathrow Airport, said it was ‘fantastic’ that passengers could now collect their pre-ordered holiday cash at the airport.

‘As the UK’s only hub airport our vision is to give passengers the best airport service in the world, so access to convenient services such as this from Travelex is so important to us – which is why we are proud to be the first airport in the world to have this service,’ he added.

Travelex recently also launched new concept stores at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol which offer customers a more ‘digital first’ experience, including more ATMs than a traditional bureau. 

Dan Gilby, strategy & products director at Travelex, said: ‘Customer trends continue to shift, and as they do so, we are pleased to be able to provide foreign currency cash solutions in new innovative ways, alongside our portfolio of digital products, including pre-paid currency cards.’