The consumer group, Which? has recently completed a study which has shown that people who are shopping for foreign currency across the UK are getting different rates depending on where they live. The company looked at two of the biggest moneychangers, Thomas Cook and the Post Office, and it showed that depending on where the outlet was the exchange rate was very different.
People from Which? went around the country wanting to swap £500 into euros. They tested 10 different locations on the same day and found that the difference in the money being offered was significant.
The group found that the Post Office were giving people better rates in Glasgow and London than they were in other large cities including Southampton, Norwich and Manchester. The difference on the amount of your currency changed was about five euros. The lowest figures however were recorded in Sheffield and Birmingham, where a difference of over €10 was seen.
The differences seen at Thomas Cook outlets were even more significant than those seen at the post office. The best deal for euros was €585 which was found in Sheffield. Right on the other end of the spectrum, the worst deal was found in Manchester where the exchange rate was given as €554. This difference is rather significant and at its worst was around £25, on changing £500 – something far from insignificant.
It was not the case that all foreign exchange companies were offering different rates depending on where you are in the country. For example, Marks & Spencer offer the same amount wherever you are in the country and Tesco and Asda had differences, but they were very small.
The director of Which? said, “There is some defense for the companies as they do have to consider local competition, but the amount they change the exchange rate is simply too high.”