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Scotland ATMs and the pound

My first time in Scotland this August and I admit to being confused about the British and Scottish pound. [I have the euro down cold.] Is there any advice about which banks and which currency to use while traveling in Scotland? BOA has a partner in Barclays bank but is there an advantage to using any other ATM? If I use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, what currency do they convert from to dollars? For instance Chase? Should I avoid using the credit card vs. ATMs? Thanks so much for any assistance.

Posted by
1664 posts

The Scottish banks issue notes of the same pound sterling as the rest of the UK, and have the same legal status as Bank of England ones. ATMs operated by the three banks which issue notes in Scotland of their own design, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank, will issue their own. Other ATMs will vary. Sainsbury's issues Clydesdale, Tesco issues RBS etc. There is no difference between Scottish and English pounds.


Posted by
341 posts

A pound is a pound regardless of whether your in England or Scotland. We've been to Scotland many times, and each time have used Barclays ATMs since we're BOA customers. In Edinburgh there is a Barclays branch with ATMs on Princes street right across from the Waverley train station. We also have VISA and Mastercards that have no foreign transaction fees which we use for lodging, restaurants, etc.

Posted by
5382 posts

There are 9 branches of Barclays across Scotland, and a few more stand alone ATMs so they are thinly spread.

Posted by
7711 posts

Look at the bigger issue. What are your charges using a BOA ATM card? Correct me, but if you use an affiliate bank, you can avoid the $5 out of network fee. Regardless, you will be hit with a 3% FTF. So if you have a Credit Card with no FTF fee, I would use that over withdrawing cash, since your cost will be the interbank rate plus about 1%. Your worst case is having to use a non-affiliate ATM. As for difference in Scottish vs English pounds, absolutely no difference in exchange rate, the base is still Pounds Sterling. The only concern is if you are further travelling into England or Wales, some merchants may scoff at the Scottish Pounds, but any bank will exchange them.

Posted by
7626 posts

On our Scotland trip 3 years ago (and still applicable on our upcoming trip later this year), we used our Chase Visa card (with no foreign transaction fees) whenever possible, but also withdrew cash from ATMs for occasionally paying by cash. As noted above, pounds are pounds right now, so whether English or Scottish, your pounds will be accepted anywhere in the U.K. On a different trip long ago, we were in York, England, having come from Scotland with Scottish notes. As we were paying for our room, the B&B owner did a double-take when we handed him the cash, but then he said, "Oh, OK, those are Scottish bills!" and accepted them without further ado. Guess he didn't see them every day in England, but they still worked! Sort of like US dollar coins, which used to be Silver Dollars with an American Eagle on the front, then Ben Franklin on the front, then JFK, then the Susan B. Anthony version, then the Sacajawea brass coin, and then the US President series... all worth exactly $1, valid anywhere in the USA.

Back to pounds, though, if ever given the "opportunity" to have your credit card transaction converted to dollars for your "convenience," always have it rung up in the local currency, which avoids a "convenience fee."

Posted by
3521 posts

Actually the Ben Franklin and JFK are Half Dollar coins. They were about the same size as the current Dollar coins, but worth only half as much face value.