miércoles, febrero 21, 2024

Coronavirus: Post Office ends travel money suspension

People wait at Post Office Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Social distancing is in place at Post Office branches

The UK’s biggest travel money provider is resuming services suspended during coronavirus lockdown as tourists gear up for a potential summer getaway.

The Post Office, which deals with about one in four travel money exchanges, is ending its suspension of services such as delivery and click and collect.

It comes as the chances of a summer holiday overseas improve amid government plans for air corridors.

Other providers have continued with online orders but closed bureaux.

‘Growing interest’

The Post Office suspended a number of its travel money services in late March, as lockdown ensured most people stayed at home.

Online orders for foreign currency are being accepted again, although this has a £400 minimum order.

Click and collect will available again from various branches nationwide from 1 July, also with the £400 minimum.

Pre-ordering of foreign currency in branches is restarting gradually. On the spot exchange in branches did continue during lockdown if stocks were available, although demand was low as people stayed at home.

Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money said: «We have been monitoring the position carefully in recent weeks and are aware of growing consumer interest in holidays as lockdown rules have relaxed.

«We’re following FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) advice closely and we advise holidaymakers to do the same.»

The FCO has advised against all but non-essential travel from the UK for some time.

Other foreign exchange providers, such as Travelex, have maintained some services throughout lockdown, although this has been through delivery to people’s homes rather than in bureaux.

The coronavirus outbreak brought a flight to safety among many investors, prompting a dramatic fall in the value of the pound against the euro.

A partial recovery since means that travellers to the proposed air corridor countries – most of which use the euro – will receive less than they would have done in February.

Air corridors will allow people to travel without being required to quarantine for 14 days after they return.

Rates blow

The Post Office rate is 8.2% lower than the February peak, with £1 buying €1.08 now rather than close to €1.18.

However, it is only 1.4% worse than the €1.095 rate of a year ago.

Norway is one of the countries expected to be on the list of air corridors, and the pound is 10% stronger against the Norwegian krone than it was a year ago.

Customers purchasing currency from the Post Office online or from its branch network will be refunded if their holiday is cancelled owing to coronavirus.

High Street rates are lower than those on the currency markets.