The recent shock vote in favour of leaving the EU has plunged the financial markets into turmoil and threatens years of economic uncertainty. Among the many and varied consequences of such turbulence is that travelling abroad is likely to become more expensive.
In the immediate aftermath of the decision to leave the 28-nation club, the pound plunged to levels last seen in the mid 1980s with currency traders around the world moving against sterling; selling out of fear that its value would fall.
While it has rallied slightly in the days that have followed, the reality for foreign holidaymakers certainly this season, is that the break away won’t come as cheap.
“This summer we predict sterling will continue to be weak, until there’s more political certainty and we know what the way forward is for the UK,” comments CEO of digital social currency platform WeSwap, Jared Jesner.
“Next summer and beyond will depend entirely on the decisions the government makes to protect business growth and support financial stability in the UK.”
Yet as we sit on the brink of peak holiday season, what can we do to lessen the blow to our pockets?
“We don’t suggest people spend too much time playing with the currency markets right now; it’s extremely volatile and very difficult to predict, Jesner explains.
“The best advice would be to exchange what you need, when you need it, at the best rate you can find and enjoy your trip.”
And Jesner, who launched WeSwap last year after feeling frustrated that we buy money when there are millions of travelers who could just be swapping directly, is confident that his business model will benefit everyone.
“With the strength of the pound as it is, it goes without saying that it’s important to make it stretch as far as we can, which means getting the best exchange rates available on the markets at the time and not losing out by racking up unnecessary fees using bank cards abroad. WeSwap helps travellers with both of those,” he says.
“Because you’re swapping direct, we make no money on the exchange rate. All WeSwappers exchange at the perfect rate at the time. The only swap fee we take is a small 1 – 2 per cent of the swap depending on the currency, and clearly stated upfront in advance so you can compare.
“To put that into context, debit cards can cost anything up to 4 per cent in overseas usage fees, the rates at Marks and Spencer’s Brent Cross are typically up to 4-6 per cent below the real rate, and exchanging at the airport is terrible; the rates are so bad we’ve seen people lose up to 11 per cent of their holiday money compared with WeSwap.”
Cutting out the middle man in currency exchange, WeSwap aims to give the best deal by swapping the currencies of users in different countries directly, so the more users there are, the cheaper the rate will be.
This comes into its own in the current climate.
“The flip side of the weaker pound is that the reverse is true for people elsewhere visiting Britain,” Jesner says.
“Their holidays have just become a whole lot cheaper. For UK travellers that means more people holidaying here to swap with, which means quicker and cheaper swaps for everyone. We’re already seeing more euro to pound swaps as a result of Europeans taking advance of the slightly stronger rate.”
And at a time when divisions and differences are so prevalent, WeSwap’s ethos runs totally counter to all the negativity.
“It’s breaking down borders between people in different countries so we’re all helping each other have a better holiday,” Jesner concludes.
“WeSwap is a community of travellers who all want to challenge unfair currency traditions and the essence of that will not change; EU membership or not. Whatever the political climate, we believe that connecting people across the world will lead us to a better place.”
Three Reasons Why Your Money Is Safe With WeSWap
1. We’re committed to helping travellers get the fairest rate, whatever the market conditions.
2. We’re backed by MasterCard, so you know the card will work in all MasterCard locations.
3. All customer funds are held in separate client accounts in major banks, so if anything does happen you know your money is always safe.
Pete, from London:
“I decided to apply for the WeSwap currency card for my recent holiday to South Africa. I had used a pre-paid currency card a few years ago from another provider, and although it worked well, it did not have the obvious advantages of the exchange rates that WeSwap offer. Clearly, I write this post BREXIT, so currency rates are not as good as they were! I got an excellent rate on both Euros and Rand prior to BREXIT and so my currency stretched well. Everything, from setting up my WeSwap account to loading the card prior to my trip, was easy. As for using the WeSwap card, every transaction I made was processed without a hitch, from my Euro spend at Schipol Airport, to the multiple shops and outlets I purchased from in South Africa. I checked my balance each day using WeSwap’s excellent App on my iphone and I could see each transaction that had been processed the following day. I had no need to withdraw cash from any ATM as I already had some Rand left over from a previous visit, but having the WeSwap card absolutely made my life so much easier with purchases in shops and restaurants. In summary it was absolutely the most perfect card for me and I would recommend WeSwap to any of my family/friends. 5 stars from me!”