Budgeting for a holiday can be a bit of a head wreck. Trying to figure out how much cash you should bring with you, wondering if your credit cards will be accepted by businesses and unsure if you’ll be able to take cash out of an ATM. And on top of all that, where to go to get the best deal, so you don’t end up paying a load of commission on top of the current exchange rates!
So I have done my best to come up with a few different options to help you travel smartly and try and save you a few bob.
Exchanging Cash In Ireland…
Local banks in Ireland do exchange Dollars and Pounds… but you will end up paying commission on the exchange, as I am sure is the case in most countries.
So my suggestion for exchanging cash in Ireland is going to the local Post Office. An Post offer a commission free service when exchanging Dollars and Pounds. You don’t have to pre-order or pre-pay, just head down , pick up your cash, and off you go.
There is a local post office in most towns, and general working hours are from 9am – 5:30 pm, Monday to Saturday, and they are closed on Sundays. Now these hours may vary depending on the town (smaller towns in particular) on bank holidays and holy days so be sure to check online before you head down.
Credit Cards are widely accepted across Ireland, the two most common are Visa and Mastercard, the two most common cards that are not accepted are American Express and Discover.
Some small shops have a minimum spend when using credit card or debit card as payment, generally either €5 or €10.
Also in some stores they may offer you the option of “cash back”. This means that if you are paying with card, they can give you money from your account when they put through the transaction. E.g.. your purchases cost €4.69, and you want to take €50 from your account, they will charge your card for €54.69 and give you €50 in cash.
ATMs, otherwise known as “ the hole in the wall”, accept debit cards for cash withdrawals. Check with your bank at home before you come over to inquire about additional charges that apply. But other than the charges imposed by your bank, all you will pay is the current exchange rate.
So I’m sure you’ve heard of prepaid debit cards, that you can put a certain amount of money on them, and then leave your own cards at home. I think this is a great idea, the only problem is.. what if you underestimated how much money you need for your trip? Or if something unexpected happens and you need access to more funds.
Thankfully there are clever people out there that have come up with an answer to these problems!
My two top choices are the Revolut card and Mastercard or Maestro® Prepaid Travel Card. I am sure there are other alternatives out there as well but I have found these to be the most user friendly.
The great thing with these cards as opposed to prepaid card is the ease of transferring money back and forth from your account at home. They are very secure and widely accepted. You can use the card to pay for things, or use them to take money out of a cash point. There are no extra fees, just the current exchange rate.