Today the foreign exchange company focuses primarily on bureau de change services, travel money, prepaid travel credit cards and international payments. They have also recently introduced the Supercard for use when spending overseas – there are no fees or surcharges and no mark-up on the MasterCard wholesale exchange rate.
Bureau de Change Services:
Travelex serves over 37 million customers annually in 1,400 stores and 1,250 ATMs in 26 countries, at airport, seaport, rail and tourist locations.
Over 40% of the world’s travellers pass through airports where Travelex’s bureau de change stores are located, including Amsterdam, Beijing, Frankfurt, London, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo.
Stores are located across many retail locations worldwide, so collecting one of the 60 available currencies of travel money is easy. Deliveries to home or office locations are free for amounts over £1,000/$1,000 in locations such as London or NYC.
A fee of £3.99 is charged for a buy back guarantee, allowing client to re-sell leftover travel money at the same rate it was purchased.
Currency can be purchased by pre-loading into a Travelex multi currency or globe cash passport MasterCard
Travelex provides remittance services in its branch locations through a partnership with Western Union.
Online international payments available through partnership with OFX:
Corporate accounts enjoy good exchange rates with an established currency company like OFX, especially for transfers of very large sums, so this may be the area where Travelex’s better exchange rates are seen. Travelex’s online currency exchange hasn’t proved the best rate for spot transfers of 10,000 euro when compared to P2P (peer to peer) companies, but larger rates are likely to be a better value for business clients.
A currency calculator works to give a good, transparent, quick spot transfer rate or a rapid Passport Card reload. The rate shown was 1.136 GBP to USD when the actual mid- market rate was 1.422 GBP to USD, so the rate of exchange can immediately be seen to be uncompetitive. These online quotes are the best rates Travelex offers, so purchases in any of the 1,400 stores and 1,250 ATMs will incur additional fees.
With 23 Travelex globally translated websites, the branding changes only slightly with emphasis consistently on bureau de change services which promise to charge no commission on travel money which can be ordered online and collected at airports.
Little content serving travellers is available on any site except those serving the US and UK where travel hub pages have articles geared to interest holiday travellers. The site isn’t particularly user friendly; speeding visitors to buy travel money online is its major function.
Travelex has a decreasing rate of 8.5 out of 10 star review on TRUSTPILOT with 22,398 reviews. Reviewers complain about fees and often include disappointment with very poor currency exchange rates after comparing the final results of their currency exchanges. Recently a traveller exchanged euro for Canadian dollars at Heathrow’s Travelex branch, noting Travelex’s online rate of exchange was 1.39. He was ‘double charged for conversion fees’ resulting in receiving a rate of 1.21, much less than his calculation online through Travelex might have been.
Yelp Reviews award Travelex 2.5 stars out of 5 with 23 reviews. Consistent themes of the complaints from unhappy customers describe finding very bad exchange rates that don’t match Travelex’s advertised rates of exchange. When clients use the currency buy-back guarantee they find they’re once again out of pocket for more than their banks would charge. In total, the experience of using Travelex was found very unsatisfactory by all reviewers.
Travelex Cash Passport cards are rated 1.7 out of 5 on ReviewCentre with only 17% of clients recommending them. Often issues regarding reloading cards kept many holiday travellers unable to access the money they’d set aside for travel expenses and loaded onto their Cash Passport cards. Other issues regard customer service which was described as ‘robotic’ by clients spending hours on the telephone (at long distance rates) frustrated by an inability to resolve card issues. Also hidden rates, and the card not proving compatible with many ATMs abroad made them far less useful and resulted in customers having to use their credit cards and pay the higher rates.
Travelex’s reputation and partnerships with other large industry firms implies an established leadership role in foreign exchange. The trouble is that they are associated with the bigger, old-fashioned firms like Western Union who pass their high fees along to agencies like Travelex. Usually cash travel cards are recommended for security and exchange rate savings when spending money abroad, but the trouble with Travelex is that their cards aren’t a good value. Also, travellers should be aware of the customer service problems before trusting them abroad. The Supercard might advertise being fee-free but beware the charges for withdrawing cash at ATMs, and comments online suggest many people have experienced trouble with transactions being declined. As if that weren’t enough, the bad rate of exchange for leftover travel money reduces any value seen by the firm to a low rating. 2 out of 5 stars.
Travelex card offers convenient travel cash option to bureau de change travel cash. Free delivery of travel money where available is also a time savings. The international currency exchange services bring depth to Travelex’s services which other bureau de change firms don’t offer.
ATM and airport bureau de change exchange rates are a notoriously poor value as are Western Union spot transfers. Transparency is an issue often complained about at the bureau de change branches because Travelex doesn’t deliver the same rate of exchange their online rate advertises.