The British pound has falling precipitously since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June, down 18% against the dollar and the euro in just over three months. At the time of writing, £1 was worth just $1.23 and €1.11 on financial markets.
For many Brits, it’s much worse than that. It’s no secret that changing your money at the airport before a holiday is a bad idea. With captive customers, airport exchange bureaus offer notoriously terrible rates, and that’s before a hefty commission is added. Now, some outlets at British airports are exchanging pounds for less than one euro each.
Nine out of 16 UK airports were offering one euro or less per pound yesterday (Oct. 11), according to a survey by UK payments provider FairFX. Eight of top 10 most popular destinations for British travelers are in the euro zone, so this won’t go unnoticed.
Ordinary Brits traveling for work or pleasure are feeling the effect of market fears that their government is steering the country towards a “hard Brexit,” with immigration controls taking priority over tariff-free trading with Europe. The pound rallied a bit today, as prime minister Thersea May agreed to hold a debate in Parliament about the government’s negotiation strategy before triggering the formal Brexit process, but this is little consolation for travelers.
At Southampton airport, for example, Moneycorp were recently offering €0.8847 per £1. That was 26% lower than the market rate at the time, FairFX said.