The Sunday Times (6 January 2013) reported that travellers could expect to pay up to 8% more for foreign currency at airports than online. A customer changing £500 could therefore be £40 worse off buying at an airport
The 'No Commission' signs which are often on display at exchange desks usually means that the exchange rate is actually very poor, the article said, frequently leaving you worse off.
Martin Lewis, from Money Saving Expert website, is quoted saying "We have a real problem with the lack of foreign exchange currency regulation. The advise is don't just go and change at the airport. The rates are horrendous. They can charge what they like."
The Financial Services Authority has no remit to cap or regulate exchange rates which can vary enormously around the country.
The Sunday Times quotes a traveller who now buys his currency on a special pre-paid currency card, which has allowed him to make great savings.