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Planning shopping abroad? Get ready then!

Quick shopping in London or Paris over the weekend? Why not – these fantastic destinations are just 2 hours away from most Polish airports. Additionally, they offer not only a bigger choice but often also lower prices than those you pay for famous brands in Poland. The shopping tourism is growing in popularity for obvious reasons.

Especially given the fact that transport or accommodation are getting cheaper. The reason for this is not only a huge competition but also the campaigns organized by businesses from other industries such as the financial industry. Currently banks are offering various discount programs that make it possible to buy plane tickets up to 50% cheaper, book a hotel with a 30% discount or take out an insurance at a very attractive price. 
Higher Traveling Comfort          
Of course the discount programs can come handy when you go on holiday or travel for business. Speaking of traveling, it is worth mentioning some luxury options for travelers. Long journey, stopovers, long waiting time can make you feel tired. With the comfort of the passengers in mind, many airports are now equipped with executive lounges – places where passengers can sit back, relax, have a meal or read a paper, escaping the crowded departure halls. Again, you can enjoy the comfort of an executive lounge free of charge if you are a holder of the right account with the right bank. 
Reduce the costs of FX payments
First, you need to understand where they come from. For one thing, when you pay abroad using a card with PLN as the main currency, you are charged with the conversion costs. Secondly, each transaction could be subject to conversion commission. It’s even worse if you want to pay in an exotic currency. There is a risk of double conversion, from PLN to EUR/USD, and later to a target currency. This can cause the final cost to be even 10-15% higher than it would result from a simple, direct conversion rate of PLN into a chosen currency. You can check the currency rates here:

Citi Handlowy - Kursy walut - Citigold

Citi Handlowy - Kursy walut - Citigold

Free currency account is a basis
It would be best to check whether the bank has a more favorable solution. One of the solutions available on the market is opening an additional, free currency account (in EUR, USD, CHF or GBP) and linking to it an already owned debit card. What can you gain? Card payments and withdrawals of currencies that are free of conversion costs, as well as commission-free withdrawal of cash from ATMs. Intangible benefits are also priceless, such as convenience (no need to look for exchange offices) or safety (in case of a theft, the card can be blocked quickly).
Choose the currency carefully
Sometimes, when withdrawing cash or making a card payment abroad (also online) we have to choose whether we want to execute the transaction in a local currency or our own. This is a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) service, which is offered by selected stores and ATMs. In practical terms this means that when making a payment, we receive information on the transaction’s value in zlotys and the exchange rate of the local currency into PLN.

If your debit card is linked to your currency account (EUR, USD or other), the foreign transaction may not be cost-effective if there is the double currency conversion applied. Then, the transaction amount will be first converted to PLN, applying the exchange rate of the settling agent to be later converted from PLN into the currency of your account to which your debit card is linked, applying the exchange rate specified in the table of exchange rates.

After you are back from your trip, you need to remember to again link your debit card to your PLN account. Usually, you can do it on your own online or by calling to your bank.  It can be concluded that travelling can be cheaper, safer and more convenient. You only need to be aware of what, apart from a savings account, a loan and investments, your bank can offer you.
Citi Handowy Magazine is a blog for retail clients, pressroom for media and an online magazine with banking experts. Important information about the character of materials published on Citi Handlowy Magazine you can find here