British holidaymakers who went abroad over Easter have been offered the worst exchange rates on record. Foreign currency firms have been cashing in on the Bank Holiday rush as a reported two million people jetted off this weekend. The firms have been accused of paying an average rate of as little as 0.78 euros per £1 at airports.
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According to an investigating launched by online currency provided FairFX, airport bureau de change are paying an average rate of less than one euro per pound to those who buy the European currency at the desk.
The low exchange rate, set at 0.98 euros, is 16 percent less than the official market exchange rate of 1.156 euros per pound.
Some currency firms have offered even worse deal and according to the FairFX research, passengers flying from Leeds Bradford airport are being offered the lowest rates in the UK.
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Here, holidaymakers have been offered just 0.78 euros per pound for someone exchanging £500 at currency giant Travelex.
This equates to just 390 euros on £500, almost a third less than the market rate.
This is £165 less than if the passenger was offered euros at normal market value.
Leeds Bradford airport is not the only airport affected, with nine of the thirteen airports looked into offering less than a euro to the pound.
Southampton offers the second worst rate, with holidaymakers offered just 0.91 euros per pound from currency firm Moneycorp.
At one of the UK’s busiest airports Gatwick the same firm is offering 0.96 euros.
Although firms always take a cut when they sell currency and customers get less than the official market value, FairFX called the latest exchange rates a “Bank Holiday rip-off”.
The online currency provided added “holidaymakers are being shortchanged”.
FairFX Chief executive Ian Strafford-Taylor said airport bureau de change desks were “ripping holidaymakers off with extortionate exchange rates, leaving people considerably out of pocket”.
But Pauline Maguire of Moneycorp defended the exchange rates by saying higher airport rates were due to “significant costs”.
According to Ms Maguire this related to ground rent and additional security.
She said customers are encouraged to pre-order money online and collect at the airport.