Martin Lewis cautions British travelers against pressing a specific button while abroad.

Featured Image Credit: MSE/YouTube

Martin Lewis cautions travelers against pressing a certain button while making international purchases to safeguard their finances.


MoneySavingExpert has been a trusted resource for the money-savvy Brits since 1994. Offering scorching deals and expert money-saving tips, they have helped countless people save a buck or two.


Presenting a follow-up from our recent feature on scoring complimentary fries at McDonald’s and discovering ways to save up to 50% on energy bills. Now, our expert sets his sights on travel enthusiasts, offering valuable insights for wanderlust seekers.

During a recent appearance on The Martin Lewis Money Show, the 51-year-old shared a valuable tip for Brits traveling abroad. By following a straightforward rule, one can effortlessly save a significant amount of money.

When payments for groceries, fashion items, or electrical goods abroad with a debit or credit card, you are typically given the option to pay in the local currency or in British pounds.

According to Lewis, it is prudent for smart savers to avoid clicking the ‘convert to GBP’ button and consistently choose to pay for goods using the local currency.

Lewis shared his recent journey to Malaga and expanded on the rationale behind his latest advice.

The MoneySavingExpert advised travellers to always pay in the local currency. Credit: YouTube/MoneySavingExpert

After experimenting with several Spanish cash dispensers, one of which threatened to charge Lewis €7 for a withdrawal, Lewis discovered that the pound’s conversion rate did not work in his favor.

“You do not want this machine to do the conversion for you. You want your card company at home to do the conversion because even if it’s not a good card, it’s at a better rate.

“Continue with conversion? No way, it’s going to cost me 20 quid more than it should,” he continued.

“When you go into a shop, when you go to a cash machine, and it says ‘Do you want us to do the conversion for you?’, no, no, no. Pay in the local currency.”

Martin Lewis has previously advised holidaymakers get a specialist overseas card for spending. Credit: YouTube/MoneySavingExpert

In addition to advising Brits to pay in the local currency and avoid accepting ATM machines’ conversion rates, Lewis recommended acquiring a dedicated overseas debit or credit card for travelers. This specialist card ensures optimal convenience and financial efficiency while abroad.

“What normally happens when you spend on plastic abroad is when you spend on the card, the bank or the card provider gets a near-perfect rate and they add a 3 percent non-sterling exchange rate fee,” he said.

“This means you get £100 worth of euros, dollars, or dong, which is the Vietnamese currency… but it costs you £103 because of the extra 3 percent.

“But the specialist cards don’t add that 3 percent and you get the near-perfect rates that they do.”