Pounds or card? What is the best option to travel to London?
If you are preparing a trip to London or to another city in the United Kingdom, you will surely have asked yourself this question: What is better to travel to London, carry Pounds or pay by card? At Eurochange we always recommend that you carry, if not all, at least part of your budget in Pounds in cash. We explain why.
Advantages and disadvantages of paying by card in London
In the list of advantages of card payment in London or in the UK in general, we only found one (which also has its cons): protection against theft. But it also has its not so good part. It is undeniable that if someone opens our backpack and steal our wallet, as soon as you realize you can cancel the card. The problem is that right now contactless cards have a minimum amount for which you do not have to put the pin. If your card is one of them and you do not have this functionality blocked, in a moment the thief can charge you a few expenses without you realizing it. Also, if you only carry a card and it is stolen, you are out of money and unable to get more.
The main disadvantage of carrying cards to pay in London is that you will not know the price you pay for things until you check your bank statement. Since when making a payment of say 25 Pounds, your bank will set its rate and it is also possible that a commission will be applied for having to convert Pounds to Euros. And you don’t know the rate or the commissions in advance. So until you have made the payment and you verify it in your account, you will not truly know the total that you have paid in Euros. Yes, there are banks that do not charge commissions and work with the market rate. If this is your case, go ahead. Take your card and pay with it. Of course, do not forget that carrying some cash is important just in case.
Another point against cards is that not all shops accept them. Although there are more and more places where you can pay with any type of card, including kiosks or bus tickets, there are always places where they do not accept card payment. For these cases it is necessary to carry some cash and so we are sure that with a card or with Pounds in cash we can make the payment.
Another disadvantage is privacy. Sometimes we do not realize it, but both daily and when we travel, if we make all our payments by card, our bank or the card issuing entity knows all our movements. Carrying your Pounds in cash and paying with them is the best way to maintain your privacy while traveling.
Advantages and disadvantages of bringing Pounds in cash to London
The main disadvantage of carrying Pounds in cash to London is the possibility of theft and the danger of carrying a lot of money together. It is true, if you carry all the Pounds of your trip in your wallet and someone steals it, you have lost everything. But there are ways to prevent this from happening. The first would be not to carry all the money together every time we leave the hotel. The vast majority of hotels offer in-room safes. A good idea is to take only the Pounds that you are going to use during the day and leave the rest at the hotel. Also, don't leave everything in your purse or inside your backpack. If you can carry something in a pocket, another part in a backpack pocket, another part in the wallet. But it is always better if you leave the large amount in the hotel and bring just enough for the day.
As for the advantages, the most important is that from before you leave home you know what things are going to cost you. If you have purchased your Pounds in advance, you will know the price you have paid for them. If you paid € 1.15 for each Pound, you can easily calculate that something that costs 20 Pounds will cost you 23 Euros. There are no more expenses or surprises later.
Another advantage is that you can pay with Pounds in cash anywhere. Except for some ATM only for cards, but there will always be an alternative option to pay in cash. For example, in the metro ticket machines there are some that are only for cards and others that have both options.
And finally, another important point in favor of carrying Pounds in cash to travel to London, is that you can have better control of spending. When paying by card, sometimes we lose track of what we are spending on vacation. Carrying your budget in cash will make you have more control over what you spend every day so you do not exceed your budget or spend more than you thought.
The best option to travel to London is...
According to our experience and the experience of our clients, the best option is to bring the Pounds already exchanged from Spain. Of course, you also have to carry a card for regular use just in case and a credit card doesn't hurt (for unforeseen expenses, to rent a car, ...).
Our recommendation is to change to Pounds the money that you have destined to spend during your stay in London. Upon arrival at the accommodation, separate what will be used each day and leave what is not needed in the hotel safe. Also, remember the trick of carrying money in different places like the wallet, a backpack pocket and the pants pocket.
If what you are worried about is that you have excess Pounds, with our Buy Back Service you will be able to return the remaining Pounds at the same price that you paid for them. Check the conditions on our website.
Have we resolved your doubts? If not, please contact us and we will answer all your questions.
July 6, 2020