Foreign Exchange Rates Lost in Translation

Foreign Exchange Rates Lost in Translation

As much as £975 million ($1.54 billion) is being lost annually by British travellers taking holidays abroad because of a lack of familiarity with foreign currency.

New findings from the American Express Global Foreign Exchange Services reveal that 46 per cent of holidaymakers get confused whilst going abroad because of conversion rates, whilst others got confused between currencies of the same name such as the British, Egyptian and Cypriot pound.

Almost a third of passengers who travel overseas surveyed, said that they struggled to grasp the exchange rate of foreign currencies and therefore felt they were being short-changed by vendors and restaurateurs. Over 60 per cent of respondents said that they had gone over budget on their holiday spending through a misunderstanding of the exchange rates.

On average, the study revealed that each traveller would lose £15 per trip taken. In particular, currencies which have a very high denomination were given the label “monopoly money” by six per cent of the sample, who found it difficult to accept such currencies as “real money”. For example, travellers on Thailand holidays got tied up appreciating the Thai Baht, which currently resides at 54 Baht to the pound.

Vice president of foreign exchange at AMEX, Helen Grace advised that the best way to avoid confusion was for customers to become acquainted with the country they were visiting and the currency it used. “It can be really difficult to stick to a budget when you are unsure of the currency rate, and some find it hard to think of foreign currency as real money,” Ms Grace told

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