Avoid Currency Rip-Off charges

There is a lot of talk online and in the journals this week about the excessive charges made by banks when you change currency. This article in The Independent newspaper sums up some of the problems.

Currency exchanges vary on a day-to-day basis. There are many websites which show these fluctuations in real-time, xe.com for example, or even simple just type in your query into the Google search bar type something like  ”1 GBP in euro” – I have found that these queries do not give exactly the same results – two comparisons a few seconds apart using these two services gave me a difference of a quarter of one percent when I tried them.

The exchange rate shown is what is called the “mid-bank” rate – this is something neither you nor I (unless you are a bank) will ever get – the poor old banks have to make a profit moving their (our) money around so they charge a fee (commission) for doing this.

Tourist rates are the prices you will get from banks, high street exchanges and cash machines. It this moment the mid-bank rate is showing at 1.14 euro to the pound (to 2 decimal places everywhere) the typical tourist rate is 1.11 euro to the pound – so the commission charge is about two and a half percent

The best deal I have found shifting lumps of money through currency dealers is what they call “30 points off” mid-bank rate – in other words they charge about one third of one percent, but this is for buying a house or transferring a largish sum of money.

So the best tourist rates for going on vacation and wanting 1000 euro is going to cost a minimum of 25 euro – but be careful, ATM machines often charge an extra three percent and there are many other charges not shown clearly by currency exchange services.

This soon mounts up and even with the nicest bank people you are in effect buying them a very expensive dinner, with Champagne, for the simple job of moving your money from one place to another.

If you are coming to stay with us in Villa Roquette, we can help you save money. You can transfer your booking payment directly into a bank account we specify, either in the UK or USA, paying us in pounds or dollars, we will calculate the money (all our prices are in euro) owing at the actual real mid-bank rate at the time and not make any charges at all, you get the full listed exchange rate.

Add this saving to our plane or train shuttle service saving you up to 200 euro in taxi fares and your saving on baggage as we provide beach towels and many extras as standard and you could save enough to stay an extra couple of days.

I was thinking of ways of helping further,  for example, you could transfer your spending money and we would repay you in euro when you arrive, we then only need charge the much smaller currency exchange rate when we transfered several clients payments across by a large sum transfer. But when I spoke to Carole about this idea it made us sound like a Nigerian scam, so perhaps I will keep this for a future project.

Villa Roquette Guest Hose in Languedoc France

Private Pool at Villa Roquette

If You Are Thinking of Buying Property in Languedoc

In most of France, sales of property have been slow, but Languedoc is bucking the trend and continues to attract a lot of people to come to live here. However, although Languedoc is the most popular area, prices in Languedoc have only risen slightly as a lot more land has been released for new building.

According to the up-coming exhibitions like “A Place in the Sun” and “Vive la France”, the numbers of people now thinking of moving from Northern Europe to sunnier places, like here in Languedoc in the South of France, has increased steadily in recent years and is still very strong, although in many other regions of France the oposite seems to be happening – I fully understand, we left the UK over 20 years ago to find a better life (and we found it here by the Mediterranean).

If you are coming to Languedoc to look for property, stay with us in Villa Roquette and take advantage of my free service. With over 20 years of experience in France, buying, selling and renovating properties. I know which agents to trust and those to avoid, I know the region well and I can show you round and save you a lot of time.

My aim is to offer you accommodation in our home. I am not hasseling for sales commission, or pushing “bargains”. I give straightforward help and advice as a free service, no strings attached.

Make your base Villa Roquette in the heart of Languedoc, it will save you time and could save you a lot of money.

 

Arts and Crafts in the Cevennes

My thanks to the department of Herault for an invitation to visit some of the many places of beauty and interest in this department.

A group of writers and journalists visited the region 25 km north of Montpellier last Friday and met some of the craftsmen who keep alive some of the arts and crafts which have been important in this region for many centuries.

I will be writing in detail about the individual visits – here are few quick photos from Friday October 29 2010.