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Airport ATM Update - Heathrow Travelex

Hi, all. I previously offered to make a small sacrifice and test a Travelex ATM at Heathrow. Arrived in T2 mid Wednesday. Immediately on walking out of Customs, there is a Travelex stand, with 3 of their ATM's. I used my Schwab card for 20 GBP. It never tried to do a DCC, and the screen and receipt showed "the exchange rate and authorized amount will be determined by your issuer." I checked the exchange rate, the average rate shown online was 1.4927, and my account was charged $29.84. Which is pretty exact. And also in exact ratio with a much larger withdrawal at bank machine an hour later.

So maybe we can trust Travelex ATMs at Heathrow. Which I am guessing can be found at Terminals 1 and 3 also.

PS - By the way, found the walk to the Tube after T2's own Immigration and Customs to be much shorter than I recall for T 1 and 3.

Posted by
2040 posts

Small correction. Not working with my regular computer and getting info is limited (by my ability), I now also found an exchange rate for yesterday of 1.4877. In which case there was a small markup, but this was only three tenths of one percent. Which is well within reason, as in all prior usages I found that I was charged from .6 to .8 of one percent higher than the daily rate, using our Capone. But this still means that Travelex at Heathrow is not gouging.

Posted by
4821 posts

I am surprised that you say that there was no decision point prior to you making the transaction. I was through a year ago, and there was at least a question as to whether I wanted to do the transaction in Dollars or Pounds (Pounds of course), can't say whether the answer to the question was "yes" or "no". It mayy have even given me an offer for conversion which I declined.

But I too can verify that by choosing to do the transaction in either Local Currency or Pounds, the rate was no different than any other ATM (1% or less)

Posted by
2040 posts

No DCC question. Yes, we were jet lagged. But I did not miss it. Only action needed was to select for "other", enter 20, and ask for a receipt. Yes, no DCC choice surprised me. Could Travelex actually have responded to Feedback and made a change. Could it be that these are new machines since this the new Terninal 2? Could it be because T2's incoming flights are coming from other than the U.S. that they are not playing that game there? If so, then I suppose this same experiment needs to be done at their machines at t he or her Terminals, esp. 5.

Also no DCC at Nat West Bank ATM, nor any DCC attempts on my credit card yet.

Posted by
17653 posts

Larry, some of the small difference you saw could have been because, according to the small print, the card company does not have to give you the exact rate at the instant you made the withdrawal, but can pick any rate they want to (the highest, you think?) over some period (24 hours?).

Posted by
2040 posts

Lee, of course the small differences would be based on the rate at the exact time the transaction was processed by the bank. Have noticed in the past, for example, that CapOne does not post a weekend transaction until Monday US time, and we have had the benefit or loss of the exchange rate over the weekend, longer even when we pulled on Friday July 4. But we have always been processed at less than .8% over what would be listed as that day's exchange rate. Too much trouble on the iPad, I won't satisfy my curiosity on the rest until I get home.

And as I said, sure do want to see what happens at a Travelex at Heathrow 5. I won't be there, return AMS through Frankfurt to US, presumably not though French airspace.

Posted by
219 posts

Thank you for the info as we will be in Heathrow in less than a month. I may try the Travelex after all.

Posted by
2040 posts

And I recently went through my receipts for our withdrawals for our trip. We were debited on our accounts just under $3100 split almost equally between Capital One and Schwab, all from bank operated ATMs (save the Travelex experiment). Based on the published daily exchange rate on x-rates.com, the total cost above direct conversion was a whole $3. No ATM charges, no fees from our banks.

Also, the amounts in dollars charged to our Capital One MasterCard were essentially the exchange rate (plus or minus pennies), no foreign transaction fees, and they all counted for our standard 1.255 cash-back bonus.