We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

New York
Level Contributor
185 posts
59 reviews
Save Topic
Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

We are leaving for London in a few days. We live near NYC. Is there a bank that we can get 200 gbp for our trip? How much cash total should we carry? We thought we could use our atm/debit everywhere but now I am reading that there are fees from pubs/stores/etc and the banks- so I am confused.

Best Seller
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath...
5,233 reviews
from US$125.50*
Best Seller
Making of Harry Potter Round-Trip...
437 reviews
from US$104.30*
Best Seller
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath...
2,069 reviews
from US$148.10*
Best Seller
Harry Potter Tour of Warner Bros...
624 reviews
from US$100.10*
Hitchin, United...
Level Contributor
8,475 posts
46 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

What sort of Debit /Credit cards are you using? What symbols do they have on them?

People differ on the currency question...

You will find ATMs all over the place (even on arrival at the airport), and most are free of charge. Where a charge is made (usually in convenience stores ATMs) the machine has to tell you.. the charge is between £1 and £2. Of course your bank will probably charge you a conversion fee when you get home.

Getting money from a bank in New York may also be handy (I tend to think so as you get a feel for it before you arrive, and you can head straight to the taxi on arrival!) but the rates are not the very best. Pre-booking a currency exchange service online is usually the better option, but I see you are leaving in a few days, and normally it does take a few days to get your currency that way.

Depending on what symobols your cards have, I'd probably just use them in UK ATMs and get your cash here. Please do tell us what symbols you have though, some are not accepted, and then my advice will differ.

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
33,369 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

<<< but now I am reading that there are fees from pubs/stores/etc >>>

Virtually none of the ATMs you will encounter will charge you for making a withdrawal, Virtually none of the shops / restaurants / etc that you will use will charge you for using a debit or credit card.

There are some ATMs in convenience stores, pubs that are privately owned and will charge you for using them - but in 30+ years of ATM use in the UK I've never had to use one - and you will be told beforehand that you will be charged.

What your bank will charge is another matter

USA
Level Contributor
7,048 posts
249 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

As mentioned above, UK bank atm's do not charge fees. Your US bank probably will. flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php/Credit/Debit/A… lists ATM and credit card foreign exchange fees charged by a number of issuers. See if you can get confirming information from your bank and stay away from UK fee charging atm's in pubs and the like.

Once you know what your atm fees are you can shop for foreign currency. Here in the hinterlands foreign currency costs me 5.5% more from my bank than from an atm. I use my atm card. Foreign currency may be available much cheaper somewhere in NYC. Would someone on the NYC forum know of a good foreign exchange bureau?

You will have no trouble with GBP notes. It is the coins that are a challenge.

Hitchin, United...
Level Contributor
8,475 posts
46 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

I did think about suggesting that the OP posted in the NY forum. Either way, when you add up the various ways of conversion versus ATMs, I find that over the course of an average 5 day trip, the best usually beats the worst by a few quid. In other words, please don't lose any sleep over it... you may get a difference of about $7-8 if that.

Oh, previous poster, what did you find hard about the coins, just out of interest?

simpsonville,sc
Level Contributor
1,355 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

AAA travel

New York
Level Contributor
185 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

Thanks. My concern isn't really over paying a bit to exchange in NY. My concern was having some gbp when we got to London so we could go straight to the car service (simplyairports) and to the hotel- it will be late. I know my atm/debit card will work because I called my bank and they said they do not charge a conversion fee.

Hartford...
Level Contributor
422 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

We purchased Euros at AAA before our to France trip last year. I am almost positive you are able to purchase GBP as well. Good luck and have a nice trip.

USA
Level Contributor
7,048 posts
249 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

The coins take some getting used to, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2 if I have it right. It is easier to pull out a £10 note to pay for something. It is more challenging to pull out £0.67 in exact change. (I don't use the old Englishman's method of examining each coin carefully while pulling them one by one from a coin purse.) A tourist can end up with a weighty pocketful of valuable change if he is not careful.

Paper money is easier, just nicely printed sheets of paper with big numbers on them.

Illinois
Level Contributor
17,231 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

We got GBP from AAA before our trip last year. We had to order them about a week ahead of time, though, they only had euros in stock. They told me you can also order them from the AAA website but haven't tried it. AAA in NY might have more in stock, though.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,862 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Getting GBP in NY: Should we do it and where?

ebwrite, if you happen to have a Bank of America debit card, you can use it in London at ATMs owned by Barclays with no charge. See …bankofamerica.com/locator/…LocatorAction.do. That way there is no charge on either end: the Barclays ATM is free, and you won't incur charges from Bank of America. I would think other American banks might have similar arrangements with UK banks.

Personally, I usually only take about 100 GBP in cash, and just get cash from an ATM in London. (There are also ATMs at Heathrow, so you wouldn't have to get any cash before you leave, but I like the comfort of knowing that I have a little in my pocket.) I use my debit card at ATMs and in stores/attractions, etc. regularly while in London, and I've never encountered any problems. I hope I didn't just jinx myself!