UK Post Office trials multi-currency ATMs

UK Post Office trials multi-currency ATMs

The UK's Post Office is rolling out cash machines - supplied by the Bank of Ireland (BoI)- that dispense euro and US dollar bank notes in addition to sterling.

Under a pilot programme, holidaymakers will be able to withdraw euros and US dollars by inserting debit cards at the ATMs at branches in Ashford, Fareham, Basingstoke, Harlow, Birmingham, Crawley, Dartford, Harrogate, Bristol, Solihull, City of London, Stockport and Trafalgar Square.

The Post Office says there will be no charge for withdrawing cash. The exchange rate will be the same as for over-the-counter transactions and there is no commission.

The currency service is being provided by First Rate Exchange Services.

According to Apacs, there were 309 million overseas transactions on UK-issued cards last year with holidaymakers using debit cards to withdraw £7.1 billion from overseas cash machines.

By withdrawing cash in the UK rather than waiting until they are abroad, customers can save money, says the Post Office.

"Holidaymakers can make real savings by avoiding all the charges and commission associated with using overseas cash machines abroad, and have more cash to enjoy on holiday instead," says Helen Warburton, head of travel services, Post Office.

The Post Office and BoI have been working together on financial services for several years. The two established a joint venture in October 2003 which offers Post Office branded financial services products across the Post Office's 14,600 strong branch network, via the telephone and over the Internet.

In 2005 the Post Office contracted with BoI for the supply of 1000 "free of charge" cash machines that were rolled out across its national branch network.

In July 2007 UK supermarket chain Tesco is to extend a trial of euro-dispensing cash machines to twenty sites following positive feedback from an initial pilot programme covering four sites at airports and international rail terminals.

Meanwhile, in September 2007 UK bank Halifax rolled out multi-currency ATMs supplied by foreign exhange operator Travelex - which dispense euro and dollar banknotes in denominations of 20 - at sites across the country.

In a separate move, the UK's Post Office says it will install 50 new bureau de change kiosks at selected branches of bookstore WHSmith.

Most of the kiosks - located in prime shopping centre and high street locations - will be open seven days a week and close later than traditional Post Office bureaux.

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