UK Post Office offers more than 170 products and services which include travel money, travel cards and a Platinum credit card promising no fees on overseas purchases. Trusted and convenient, Post Office is the UK’s largest retail network and the largest financial services chain in the UK with more branches than all of the UK’s banks and building societies put together. They have focused on growing direct channels such as contact centres and online – seeking more ways to connect with more customers. Post Office has:
Post Office and its partners offer over 170 products under four product pillars
Products/services are available through branches, call centres and online.
In branch: No commission is charged, nearly unlimited transfer amounts are available and can be paid for with cash, Visa or MasterCard. Post Office offers up to 80 currencies which can be ordered for pick-up two hours later. There is no minimum purchase in branch and Post Office will buy back any cash not used.
Online currency has a slightly better exchange rate than in branches and rates occasionally improve during Travel Money Flash Sales. £400 minimum is available online. A currency calculator is available to check exchange rates.
Post Office Travel Card
Advantages of carrying a travel card are the safety of bringing holiday cash abroad and the ability to stick to a budget when travelling. Post Office MasterCard can be topped up online and is convenient to collect from local Post Office.
Disadvantages of Post Office Travel card begin when loading as clients purchase currency at 9% higher than mid-market rate. Any money left on the card will eventually be refunded at 14% below market rate, the fee charged for the card. Refunding the money left isn’t done as quickly and conveniently as purchase at the local Post Office. You need to phone their call centre to arrange the refund.
The Travel Money Card Plus is available in 8 currencies:
Fees: To use at ATM: €2/ $2.50/ AU$ 3/ CA $ 2.50
Free smartphone apps can be downloaded for iOS and Android, including Travel Essentials, Travel Money Card Plus & Currency Converter. An instant currency converter for Apple Watch can also be downloaded.
Easy-to-use smartphone app allows client to manage Travel Money Card Plus from phone 24 hours a day. Features include:
Review Centre has 311 very unhappy users of Post Office travel card. Only 9% of users would recommend using the card and most complained about very bad exchange rates and an inability to get funds left on card refunded. In one case two months of chasing the company down was necessary to receive £600 balance on card. Fees charged by Post Office coupled with fees for using the card at ATMs were compounded by very poor exchange rates to render the card as likely the worst travel card available in the UK.
Money Saving Expert Forum discussed the advantages and pitfalls of using a Post Office Travel card when a member queried users’ experience with the product. Two thirds of the respondents wrote of negative to very bad experiences which brought many hidden disadvantages to light. One client had his card stolen in the US and found the criminal was easily able to bypass any security mechanisms protecting his balance. Replacing the card took 5 working days and cost him $50, plus the funds the card wasn’t able to block even after he’d reported the card stolen. Cashing out process has been consistently described as bureaucratic, requiring a long phone call to a customer call centre, a 15 day wait for a letter to be brought to PO for refund of money left on card – which is reduced by 14% below mid-market rate on the day the letter is written. One client cashed in around $400 and lost a hidden fee of £30.
Which Reviews compared the cost of using all the UK travel cards when used for purchases and ATM cash withdrawal abroad and found Post Office Travel Money Card to be the second to worst in value.
TRUSTPILOT rates Post Office as an ever-decreasing deplorable 1.4 out of 10 level of service with 109 reviews. None specify the poor value currency exchange rates (as the others have) but most spoke about Post Office being unable to make a go of more services than employees are properly trained to administer. Long waiting in branches and poor customer service at the end of the long waits simply ruined customer experiences.
Why expect foreign currency exchange to be competitive at the corner shop? Isn’t this one arena best left to experts, not to a short-staffed local Post Office juggling 170 services, stamps, special offers and sweeties? Travel money rates are clearly not competitive, even if they are slightly better than bureau de change branches at airports. Post Office Travel Money Card is nearly the worst value – bar one competitor – available in the UK. Unfortunately Post Office has been awarded a silver British Travel award adding to the false sense of security British travellers will have when relying on their beloved local Post Office. Oh dear….
2.5 star out of 5 for Post Office currency exchange rates. Poor value at purchase and worse value at buy back.
Awards given for service
Poor Exchange Rates
Rates not competitive
Travel Money card – poor rates