Financially savvy tourist goes viral with money-saving holiday ATM trick

A money savvy man has shared a top-tip for saving money while on holiday.

Captioning the video ‘avoid foreign currency bank scam’, the cash saving Scot called James – aka @jamesycottar on Tiktok – warned others what they should do whilst abroad and withdrawing cash.

He explained: “If you’ve ever used your bank card on holiday to take out cash then there’s a fair chance, like me, you’re doing it wrong

“Someone much smarter than me – aka my girlfriend – told me that any time you use your bank card to take money out abroad the bank will offer you a conversion rate for that currency.

“Never accept it because they are getting commission off this and it’s always going to be a higher rate.”

Warning people to “always hit decline”, he adds that you will then get offered “a second rate” which is less clearly labelled, Glasgow Live reported.

Despite this, it’s the better option is always “guaranteed” to be lower.

He adds: “Do this and you will always save money, and that’s a fact.”

The Scots tourist isn’t the only one to share the trick, with Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis also telling people to keep their eyes peeled when using an ATM.

The financial advisor warned travellers that some cash machines will charge additional fees – even if you’re using a special overseas card – and can add a 4.5% mark-up fee on top of the exchange rate plus a fee for using the machine.

Martin explained: “Even the worst card, never mind my specialist card that gives perfect rates, only adds a 3% conversion [fee].”

The financial guru tested several ATMs all of which had conversion mark-ups of up to 4.5%.

Martin continued: “So, 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.”

Financially savvy tourist goes viral with money-saving holiday ATM trick

Martin Lewis (


He then warned that cash machines may use “psychological scare tactics” to persuade someone to use their conversion rates by adopting an onscreen prompt which warns “if you do not accept this option, we cannot guarantee the exchange rate offered”.

Martin also did the maths to show that withdrawing money without allowing the ATM to do a conversion cost £169.20, excluding the ATM fee, but using the machine’s rates would have cost him up to £191.

Martin advised: “Do not pay to pay. When you got 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.”