Agents dismayed as ABTA launches its own forex service

By Lisa James
Home » Agents dismayed as ABTA launches its own forex service

ABTA’s decision to set up a foreign exchange service has caused concern among some agent members who say the association is competing with them.

The trade body has launched ABTA Travel Money, offering more than 60 currencies via foreign exchange provider Eurochange.

Purchasers can either click and collect from around 200 Eurochange locations or have the currency delivered to their home. Delivery is free for orders over £500.

ABTA said it plans to offer commission-free currency at competitive rates.

ABTA Commercial Director Claire Biddle said: “This is the first time that ABTA has offered a foreign exchange service and it’s right to do so now.

“In a volatile, unstable world, customers are increasingly looking for and need reliable, trustworthy services.

“The ABTA badge of confidence, built up over 70 years of trading, stands for quality and high standards and ABTA Travel Money will join our insurance product ABTA Travel Sure to offer customers that high quality, at good value prices in a convenient and efficient way.

“By offering both foreign exchange and travel insurance products, we are also broadening our income base, allowing us to further invest in services to members.”

But some agents are angry at what they see as ABTA encroaching on their opportunity to boost revenue.  

TARGET Co-Founder Graeme Brett told Travel Gossip that some agents earn around 40-50% of their income from selling currency and members saw the fact that ABTA is selling foreign exchange as being ‘in competition with agents’.

One agent said he thought ABTA was ‘shafting agents’, while another commented: “I have spent thousands adapting my shop and arranging security and insurance to be able to sell currency and now ABTA are trying to steal my customers.”

Another agent said: “We proudly display the ABTA logo in our shop. Customers will assume that the ABTA foreign exchange is connected to us. ABTA is using the goodwill of my business. That’s disgraceful.”

Online comments said ABTA was ‘going head-to-head with its members’, while others questioned why ABTA couldn’t have worked with agents on the foreign exchange service.

ABTA told Travel Gossip: “ABTA Travel Money has been developed to compete against other parts of the foreign exchange sector, such as supermarkets and the Post Office, rather than members.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, the income it brings will help us to invest further in member services.” 

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