Living in Crete: Nationwide Forex Changes After Nov 1
For Brits, Nationwide Building Society has always been a popular way of taking small sums of cash to Europe from UK, and of course to our base on the Greek Island of Crete.
Nationwide's no fees and good rates made this a very useful method of converting sterling inexpensively to Euros. However you may know by now, this all changes from November 1st, 2010. Nationwide have axed the benefits of their most popular current account and as from November 1st, charges will be levied each time at the rate of 2% commission and £1 withdrawal fee.
Nationwide, UK's biggest building society is trying to offset the new charges with a new reward of free travel insurance to its loyal customer base. The catch though is that to be entitled to this offer customers must pay in at least £750 a month into their Flex Account.
So what alternatives are open to you when the new system kicks in?
A currency broker can certainly help; it will provide a more competitive service than the bank. Some brokers can put in place monthly transfers that don’t include fees. There are several options and it is best to talk direct to a broker and explain your situation in full. You can take the option of ‘Spot Deals’ on an as and when basis, but again do check with the broker about charges for as in some cases there are fees incurred. A few brokers offer prepaid cards, by where you can pre-load money on the card and withdraw cash from ATM’s or pay as you would with a credit or debit card. Rates are competitive and charges minimal.
Brits in Crete works with foreign currency specialist, Colm Gilhooly at Currencies Direct. What we like about them is their highly personalized approach to their clients. Colm is very knowledgable and helpful to us at BritsinCrete. He is herefore a solid introduction.
More on Currencies Direct and how to reach Colm is found in the section on your money, foreign exchange and banking in Europe in our Brits in Crete forum.