Holidaymakers heading to Greece for a summer break need to seriously consider how they are going to fund their break, as banking controls are now in place in Greece which means you may not be able to use credit, debit and even pre-paid cards, let alone ATMs when you get there.
The general advice is to take all of the cash that you will need for your trip with you – which means you could be taking a lot of cash, and that will bring its own problems. So here are a few points to consider before you go:
1. Get your cash in advance of travelling – If you are planning to go to Greece, then you should get as much cash as you need before you go. The advice from HM Revenue & Customs on July 1 was that the banking system was still continuing to function, but that “visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice”. At that time, the banks were limiting withdrawals from ATMs on cards issued by Greek banks to €60, but cards issued outside of Greece could withdraw more – but only if the ATM has enough cash available.
So, it makes sense to be prepared for the worst case scenario, just in case. Buying your cash online through one of the online brokers such as Moneycorp, HiFX or FairFX means the money will be delivered to your door in advance of travel, and you should get a better exchange rate. Leaving it until you reach the airport will cost you anything up to 10% of your money, so if you are changing £1,000 you could effectively lose around £100 just because you have not planned ahead.
However, Moneycorp does operate a service where you can pick up funds that are pre-ordered at the airport if you have left it late, and this means you will get a better exchange rate than you would get at the airport without pre-planning.
2. Check your travel insurance covers you for holding that much cash – Just because you are forced into a position where you need to carry extra cash, do not assume that insurance companies will automatically cover you for it. Around 11% of companies will not cover you for carrying cash at all, according to research by GoCompare, and a similarly paltry number will cover you for having more than £500 of cash on you. It is more typical for insurers to cover less than £200, and nearly two thirds of insurers will have an excess of £50 to £100 on a travel insurance policy.
3. Keep it safe when you get there – If you leave the cash in an unattended bag, the chances are you will not be covered for this, and this would generally include in the hold of a plane, a bus trunk or car boot, said GoCompare. If you leave it at the hotel, then use any access you have to a locked safe you have available, as leaving it unattended anywhere else is also likely to invalidate your cover.
4. Get a police report and crime number if the money gets stolen – you have to prove to the insurer that you had the money in the first place, and that a crime has been committed. So keep your receipt for the foreign exchange transaction – which means taking the receipt with you if you buy the currency in advance – and report any theft to the local police.
5. Don’t forget to book all your other holiday necessities in advance to save money – Yes, the currency question is a biggie for anyone going to Greece, but do not let that sidetrack you from the other ways you can save money on your holiday. Booking airport parking before you get there can save you a tidy sum, and there are many other ways to save too. Take a look at the various ways you can get a cheaper holiday to find out more.