Money & Banking
You should make arrangements for your travel funds early. For your initial expenses, experience suggests that you should have immediate access to approximately £200 GBP.
It is a good idea to obtain a credit card for use in England. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted cards in the United Kingdom and Europe. American Express is valid in most of the larger establishments within larger cities, but in smaller cities, it is less known.
Throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, it is possible to use credit and debit cards to get cash from a bank using ATMs. Students should make sure their cards are valid for international cash use. Ask your bank if you will need a valid international PIN. Check what the daily (and in some cases weekly) limit is for withdrawing funds, as well as the bank fee charged per withdrawal. Also, notify your bank before you leave so they will know you will be using your debit and credit cards at overseas ATM’s and will not cancel or block them after the first use.
We have found that the following financial arrangements have also proven useful for our students:
- Full Year Students who wish to open a bank account in the UK should inquire with the Middlebury-CMRS staff. Single semester students will not be able to open an account.
- American Express moneygrams, which are wired instantly to the Amex office, can be exchanged with no problem.
- A pre-loaded card, such as the one advertised at Travelex.
Each of the above options will incur charges and/or commissions.
You should NOT have money sent to you in the form of money orders, bank drafts, or treasurers’ notes. You will not be able to cash them unless you have a bank account.
All estimates in this handbook are based on an exchange rate of £1.26. This is an approximate rate of exchange at the time of publication. However, check the current exchange rate between now and when you arrive in England.
BEFORE you leave, you should discuss with your family a plan for getting more money in an emergency situation. Check Western Union details and service fees, credit card services, and ATM availability.