More than £2bn in foreign currency sitting unused in UK households

UK households are sitting on more than £2bn in foreign currency leftover from holidays, a new poll has found.  

The poll, which had 2,000 participants, revealed that homes in the UK have an average of £97 in unused money sitting around.  

Across the nation’s 27.6 million households, this equates to nearly £3bn. 

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Euros, dollars and yen were the average currency to be collecting dust for at least three years, while at least one in 10 have hung onto currency for a decade or more. 

“With most families taking their holidays over the summer, now is the most likely time to have forgotten foreign currency lying around the house,” said Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank who commissioned the survey. “Our research shows that foreign currency often goes forgotten about.” 

The poll also found that one in 10 would not know how to change their money back to British pounds even if they wanted to. 

As little as 37 per cent have actually made an effort to get their foreign currency converted back. 

And having done so, a third would use the money to treat themselves, 28 per cent would buy their partner a present and 28 per cent would pick up a gift for their kids.

A quarter would donate it to charity and 34 per cent would put it straight towards booking another holiday.

The poll also found the leftover currency would make Christmas easier on the purse strings for three in 10. 

And if putting it towards the festive period, a fifth would actually buy themselves a Christmas present.

Seventeen per cent would spend it on Christmas dinner, 11 per cent would treat themselves to a party outfit and 10 per cent would buy decorations for their home.

In light of the findings, M&S Bank have announced they are running a currency buy-back sale in its in-store bureau from 2 December until 11 January. 

“We wanted to offer our customers the chance to get the best buyback rate ahead of Christmas,” said Mr Stokes. “The money changed back can be put towards their families, or to allow them to treat themselves during this busy and often, expensive, time.”

Buyers can donate any foreign currency coins to Breast Cancer Now by putting the money in Change4Change collection boxes found in M&S stores.


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