How much cash in London?

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quantAndHold
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How much cash in London?

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:08 am

At home, we use credit cards for practically everything. I got a new debit card a few months ago, used it exactly once to make sure it worked, and still have almost all of the cash in my wallet from that ATM visit.

So, the question. My wife and I are going to be in London for four days. We have no foreign transaction fee credit cards, and plan to use credit cards as much as possible. We’re staying in a hotel right in the middle of London for four nights, with breakfast provided. We’re not planning on buying any stuff, other than a postcard. We’ll mainly be seeing the sights and eating. How much cash do we need to get from the ATM when we get to town?

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midareff
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by midareff » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:21 am

I don't think I would convert more than $100 to start. Don't know about the taxis but most everything else should take credit cards. If you have the Uber Visa take that.. no foreign fee and 3% off hotel, 4% off restaurant. $100 may even be too much but you never know when cash is needed.

livesoft
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by livesoft » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:23 am

I've been to London for a week and never used any cash. Taxis take cards. The Tube takes cards at least for an Oyster card. All the restaurants, museums, and tourist places take cards.
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bob60014
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by bob60014 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:25 am

Agree, $100 for minor purchases and just in case. CC's are taken just about everywhere.

ZinCO
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by ZinCO » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:35 am

Just came back from a work trip to London, 5 days. Used Apple Pay 21 times, cash 0, direct CC 0. Apple Pay appears to work anywhere contactless payments are accepted there. And as reported here on Bogleheads in the past, it avoids the awkward moment of the retailer having to find a pen so you can sign some (to them) archaic piece of paper that they don't otherwise deal with.

Topic Author
quantAndHold
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:39 am

Great. That’s what I was figuring. We’ll get £50 or same token amount just to have walking around money, and use Apple Pay for the rest.

Thanks, all!

FederalFIRE
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by FederalFIRE » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:52 am

quantAndHold wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:39 am
Great. That’s what I was figuring. We’ll get £50 or same token amount just to have walking around money, and use Apple Pay for the rest.

Thanks, all!
I've lived in London for the past 18 months and basically never use cash. Apple Pay everywhere, including the buses and Tube. It's quicker and easier than cash and is generally preferred. 50 pounds should be more than enough - I expect you'll be looking to spend it at the airport before you leave!

DrGoogle2017
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:55 am

I always have £10 with me and my Oyster card. Even buses don’t take cash any more.

FederalFIRE
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by FederalFIRE » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:59 am

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:55 am
I always have £10 with me and my Oyster card. Even buses don’t take cash any more.
I usually have £20 in my wallet because my barber charges £18 and is the only cash-only operation I've found in the city.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:02 am

FederalFIRE wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:59 am
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:55 am
I always have £10 with me and my Oyster card. Even buses don’t take cash any more.
I usually have £20 in my wallet because my barber charges £18 and is the only cash-only operation I've found in the city.
You got ripped(lol), my husband found a place that charge him £10.

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ResearchMed
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am

Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?

If so, then do have at least a few small bills/coins/whatever is in vogue on hand.

RM
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TrustButVerifying
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by TrustButVerifying » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:18 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?

If so, then do have at least a few small bills/coins/whatever is in vogue on hand.

RM
I would also add the situation where coins are needed to enter a public toilet.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:22 pm

TrustButVerifying wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:18 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?

If so, then do have at least a few small bills/coins/whatever is in vogue on hand.

RM
I would also add the situation where coins are needed to enter a public toilet.
That’s it. Train station, I can’t remember which, maybe Paddinton, but I believe there’s an ATM there.

Seasonal
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Seasonal » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:33 pm

You can use Google Pay or Apple Pay for the tube. No need anymore for an Oyster card.

ivk5
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by ivk5 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:36 pm

Don’t even need an Oyster card. Apple Pay (or equivalent) works fine for tube/bus/etc. Same for Heathrow Express as of couple months ago, though I still generally buy ticket on app on the walk over.

Can generally use mobile payment anywhere contactless is accepted (pretty ubiquitous). Saves a signature, (assuming your alternative is a US-issued card requiring signature).

It’s probably been a dozen trips since I used cash in London.

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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by KyleAAA » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:43 pm

Do you have a chip and pin credit card or just a chip and signature? Chip and signature won’t work in many automated kiosks so take cash for that, but otherwise you’ll be fine everywhere.

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quantAndHold
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:03 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:43 pm
Do you have a chip and pin credit card or just a chip and signature? Chip and signature won’t work in many automated kiosks so take cash for that, but otherwise you’ll be fine everywhere.
We’re typical Americans with chip and signature only, so I’m thinking a few pounds for kiosks and tips, and call it good. The more responses I get, the less cash we seem to need...

z91
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by z91 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:14 pm

100 GBP and you should be fine. My Visa didn't work when I got to the airport and needed cash to take the tube. A few hours later my Visa worked again and I was golden. I spent the cash in Camden, as you can negotiate if you spend. A bit harder if you pay with card.

I also used cash to get a cheap SIM at one of the cell stands.

Otherwise I used my Visa for everything else.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:59 pm

We had chip and signature card and it worked at many places. We use Penfed as our ATM, that’s when we need a pin. I don’t have Apple Pay nor Google pay. I took me a while to switch to Apple Wallet. Lol

WS1
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by WS1 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:03 pm

Spent a week in London in February
-Picked up maybe £150 from my local bank before I left and brought maybe $200 just out of paranoia
-used either apple pay, chase sapphire reserve or amex plat for EVERYTHING. I had to remember to use the cash to avoid needing to reconvert the GBP
-the CSR and Plat are not chip and pin. I had no problem buying an oyster card
-I don’t think I saw a credit card reader not equipped for contactless payment. Every person I saw either tapped their card or used their phone. This will also save the hassle of the cashier/server needing to find a pen

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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by The Wizard » Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:16 pm

Seasonal wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:33 pm
You can use Google Pay or Apple Pay for the tube. No need anymore for an Oyster card.
So even the locals, like ValueThinker, use their smartphone to ride the Tube now?
I'll be there in July, so I need to figure how to make Google Pay work.
I assume you need cellular data service for smartphone pay apps to work, right?
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GerryL
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by GerryL » Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:23 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:39 am
Great. That’s what I was figuring. We’ll get £50 or same token amount just to have walking around money, and use Apple Pay for the rest.

Thanks, all!
So glad to see this thread. I am just now planning a 4-night extension to a cruise/program that ends in London and was pondering the question of how much cash I will need. Sounds like maybe I should look into Apple Pay, too.

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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Starfish » Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:29 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?

If so, then do have at least a few small bills/coins/whatever is in vogue on hand.

RM
NO!
Please don't export your tipping habits around the world, it makes it worse for everybody.

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fortfun
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by fortfun » Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:55 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:08 am
At home, we use credit cards for practically everything. I got a new debit card a few months ago, used it exactly once to make sure it worked, and still have almost all of the cash in my wallet from that ATM visit.

So, the question. My wife and I are going to be in London for four days. We have no foreign transaction fee credit cards, and plan to use credit cards as much as possible. We’re staying in a hotel right in the middle of London for four nights, with breakfast provided. We’re not planning on buying any stuff, other than a postcard. We’ll mainly be seeing the sights and eating. How much cash do we need to get from the ATM when we get to town?
None.

stan1
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by stan1 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:19 pm

Last time I was in London (about a year ago) I saw most Tube riders using contactless bank cards or Oyster cards. I don't recall people using phones, which to me seems like it could really bottleneck the gates if people are fumbling with their phones rather than slapping down a card.

FederalFIRE
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by FederalFIRE » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:48 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:22 pm
TrustButVerifying wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:18 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?

If so, then do have at least a few small bills/coins/whatever is in vogue on hand.

RM
I would also add the situation where coins are needed to enter a public toilet.
That’s it. Train station, I can’t remember which, maybe Paddinton, but I believe there’s an ATM there.
As of the beginning of April toilets in Network Rail stations are all free. This is all the major train stations, so there is little need for change anymore to get into a toilet.

FederalFIRE
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by FederalFIRE » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:50 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:19 pm
Last time I was in London (about a year ago) I saw most Tube riders using contactless bank cards or Oyster cards. I don't recall people using phones, which to me seems like it could really bottleneck the gates if people are fumbling with their phones rather than slapping down a card.
The key is to pull the phone out as your walk up to the turnstile. If you have an iPhone with TouchID you can set it where all you have to do is double-tap the home button and it will read your fingerprint and pull up the card. I see as many people standing in front of a turnstile digging out credit cards as there are people fumbling with phones.

That said, I only ever use my Apple Watch for the Tube and I'm a daily rider. My wife only uses here iPhone. We never have any issues with it.

bhead33
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by bhead33 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:12 am

We just came back from a week in London and the Cotswolds.

You need a contactless credit card for maximum convenience and *maybe* 50-100 pounds in cash.

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midareff
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by midareff » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:25 am

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:02 am
FederalFIRE wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:59 am
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:55 am
I always have £10 with me and my Oyster card. Even buses don’t take cash any more.
I usually have £20 in my wallet because my barber charges £18 and is the only cash-only operation I've found in the city.
You got ripped(lol), my husband found a place that charge him £10.
LOL, get a Wahl and do a Gibbs.

Seasonal
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Seasonal » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:40 am

The Wizard wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:16 pm
Seasonal wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:33 pm
You can use Google Pay or Apple Pay for the tube. No need anymore for an Oyster card.
So even the locals, like ValueThinker, use their smartphone to ride the Tube now?
I'll be there in July, so I need to figure how to make Google Pay work.
I assume you need cellular data service for smartphone pay apps to work, right?
As I understand it, Google Pay has to be connected to the internet periodically, but will work offline otherwise. I'm not sure if the connection is based on time (e.g., every 24 hours) or numbers of transactions (e.g., every 10 purchases). I've used it without a data connection, but have always had data shortly thereafter.

On the London tube, the app quickly shows the location you first tapped in, but won't show the charge until the following day.

You have to unlock the phone for Pay to work.

Every card reader I saw in my latest visit to the UK could process contactless cards, Google Pay and Apple Pay.

We didn't need any cash, but carried some just to be safe.

ivk5
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by ivk5 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:32 am

Seasonal wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:40 am
On the London tube, the app quickly shows the location you first tapped in, but won't show the charge until the following day.
On TfL app you can see your charges, including Apple/Google/etc -Pay, in near-real-time ie shortly after tapping out.

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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by fogalog » Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:33 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?
You do not need to tip anyone for anything in London (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter). The price you see is (usually) the price you pay.

Note also: do not add a tip to a credit card payment in a restaurant. It will very, very likely go straight to the institution and not to the server. Europe just isn't set up for tipping as a means of paying staff.

Good luck!

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quantAndHold
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by quantAndHold » Fri May 03, 2019 9:55 am

Looping back on this. We just left London. We ended up getting £40, £20 for each of us. Other than one place where it would have been nice to have 20p for a public toilet, there was no need to have cash. Or a wallet, frankly. Apple Pay is ubiquitous. And Apple Pay worked even when we didn’t have any cell service.

We saved a few coins. Next time we go, we will just take the coins with us and call it good.

Valuethinker
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 03, 2019 10:29 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:23 am
I've been to London for a week and never used any cash. Taxis take cards. The Tube takes cards at least for an Oyster card. All the restaurants, museums, and tourist places take cards.
In fact the Tube and buses make it as difficult as possible to use cash as they can - giving you a worse price plus most ticket offices are closed.

You really do need a touch-and-pay credit or debit card (although an Oyster will do, in a pinch - ie prepaid).

Valuethinker
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 03, 2019 10:31 am

fogalog wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:33 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?
You do not need to tip anyone for anything in London (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter). The price you see is (usually) the price you pay.

Note also: do not add a tip to a credit card payment in a restaurant. It will very, very likely go straight to the institution and not to the server. Europe just isn't set up for tipping as a means of paying staff.

Good luck!
That is not true in London.

If there is a service charge (usually 12.5%) it will be on the bill at the bottom. And yes, you can ask to have it removed (see below).

Otherwise one would normally tip. 10% or more (on the gross value, i.e. including VAT).

There is an issue re restaurants not paying electronically collected service to staff, or charging a "service charge". Some chains have been named and shamed. I usually try to tip in cash.

Cabs you would normally tip 10%.

Valuethinker
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 03, 2019 10:33 am

stan1 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:19 pm
Last time I was in London (about a year ago) I saw most Tube riders using contactless bank cards or Oyster cards. I don't recall people using phones, which to me seems like it could really bottleneck the gates if people are fumbling with their phones rather than slapping down a card.
In fact, that is an issue.

Applepay and watches seem to be slower to read than Oyster & contactless cards.

In a really busy station, like Canary Wharf or Bank, you can see how it slows up the queues.

stan1
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by stan1 » Fri May 03, 2019 10:57 am

Now that US banks are finally issuing contactless cards [with the )))) symbol on the back] I'm curious whether those cards work as they should on the Tube gates and other places where EU/UK issued contactless cards have worked well for years. Or are we still dealing with Chip/PIN interoperability fallout?

fogalog
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by fogalog » Fri May 03, 2019 11:22 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 10:31 am
fogalog wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:33 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?
You do not need to tip anyone for anything in London (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter). The price you see is (usually) the price you pay.

Note also: do not add a tip to a credit card payment in a restaurant. It will very, very likely go straight to the institution and not to the server. Europe just isn't set up for tipping as a means of paying staff.

Good luck!
That is not true in London.

If there is a service charge (usually 12.5%) it will be on the bill at the bottom. And yes, you can ask to have it removed (see below).

Otherwise one would normally tip. 10% or more (on the gross value, i.e. including VAT).

There is an issue re restaurants not paying electronically collected service to staff, or charging a "service charge". Some chains have been named and shamed. I usually try to tip in cash.

Cabs you would normally tip 10%.
I don't think anything you say contradicts the point I made? i.e. "the price you see is (usually) the price you pay".

I grew up in the UK, have lived in a few places and I now live in the US. We visit the UK and other places in Europe every year to visit family. I have both UK and US credit cards. I have used a UK credit card and a US credit card in the same city on different days and found a tip line when paying with a US credit card and no tip line when paying with the UK credit card. I don't recall if this was London or not (might have been some other city). My conclusion is that this a way for unscrupulous proprietors to gouge unsuspecting American tourists.

Yes, of course "service charge" exists and is - in my experience - specified at the bottom of the menu. I have seen this but not often. But it is on the bill itself, not a separate open space on the credit card receipt.

I'm not saying tipping is bad versus good, just pointing out that people in Europe are not paid from tips like they are in the US and in general are not expected. If you choose to leave a few pounds or euros behind then yes, cash is definitely the way to go...

Good luck!

Valuethinker
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 03, 2019 11:38 am

fogalog wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 11:22 am
Valuethinker wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 10:31 am
fogalog wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:33 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?
You do not need to tip anyone for anything in London (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter). The price you see is (usually) the price you pay.

Note also: do not add a tip to a credit card payment in a restaurant. It will very, very likely go straight to the institution and not to the server. Europe just isn't set up for tipping as a means of paying staff.

Good luck!
That is not true in London.

If there is a service charge (usually 12.5%) it will be on the bill at the bottom. And yes, you can ask to have it removed (see below).

Otherwise one would normally tip. 10% or more (on the gross value, i.e. including VAT).

There is an issue re restaurants not paying electronically collected service to staff, or charging a "service charge". Some chains have been named and shamed. I usually try to tip in cash.

Cabs you would normally tip 10%.
I don't think anything you say contradicts the point I made? i.e. "the price you see is (usually) the price you pay".
You do not need to tip anyone for anything in London (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter). The price you see is (usually) the price you pay.
I read that as you are saying the tip is included?

In fact, the tip is not included in a UK bill. It will say at the bottom whether a service charge has been included and that will be broken out separately if it has.
I grew up in the UK, have lived in a few places and I now live in the US. We visit the UK and other places in Europe every year to visit family. I have both UK and US credit cards. I have used a UK credit card and a US credit card in the same city on different days and found a tip line when paying with a US credit card and no tip line when paying with the UK credit card. I don't recall if this was London or not (might have been some other city). My conclusion is that this a way for unscrupulous proprietors to gouge unsuspecting American tourists.
I have lived in the UK for over 25 years as an adult. I don't know what happens with a US credit card. Before that I lived in North America, which I visit every year. However I usually use a North American bank card there, and a British card here.

What is true in London is true in all British cities.
Yes, of course "service charge" exists and is - in my experience - specified at the bottom of the menu. I have seen this but not often. But it is on the bill itself, not a separate open space on the credit card receipt.
Agreed it's on the bill. With a machine it will query you whether you wish to add a tip - just as it does in Canada (the Canadian ones start with a proposed percentage of 18%, which is a bit cheeky).

I can't imagine a situation now where one would pay by credit card with a slip & sign. Perhaps some American cards don't do Chip and PIN?
I'm not saying tipping is bad versus good, just pointing out that people in Europe are not paid from tips like they are in the US and in general are not expected. If you choose to leave a few pounds or euros behind then yes, cash is definitely the way to go...

Good luck!
I disagree that servers in London do not expect TIPS. They are generally paid minimum wage, so a tip is a significant part of their income.

The gratitude one gets if one tips for something small in a cafe, like a coffee, has to be seen.

The situation you describe is true in Australia, where waiters are (apparently) paid union wages.

Jeff Albertson
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Jeff Albertson » Fri May 03, 2019 11:56 am

fogalog wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:33 am
You do not need to tip anyone for anything in London (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter). The price you see is (usually) the price you pay.

Note also: do not add a tip to a credit card payment in a restaurant. It will very, very likely go straight to the institution and not to the server. Europe just isn't set up for tipping as a means of paying staff.

Good luck!
see here: 'Tipping in restaurants in Germany'
"It is normal to tip about 5-10%. Big cities expect 10%. If service was shoddy, you needn't tip anything."
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel ... in-germany

mariezzz
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by mariezzz » Fri May 03, 2019 12:15 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:39 am
Great. That’s what I was figuring. We’ll get £50 or same token amount just to have walking around money, and use Apple Pay for the rest.

Thanks, all!
If you have a no-foreign-fee ATM card, like with capital one 360 checking, I wouldn't exchange any money until you get to London. Go to an ATM that you're sure is an ATM & withdraw (I'd do a little research to find an ATM that has a very low/no fee for withdrawals (the ATM itself may change while capital one 360 doesn't). The ATMs attached to Sainsbury grocery stores (can't remember the bank name) worked for me a few years ago - I think most ATMs attached to banks give you a good exchange rate - you'll generally get a poor exchange rate if you make the exchange at a US bank. You don't need cash right away in London - all the transport options will take credit cards. I might take $50 US just in case, but that's about all.

Do NOT exchange money at Heathrow. The machines there that look like ATMs are not bank ATMS and you get a horrible exchange rate, as you do at any in-person exchange spot (in airports or around town). There are articles online about this.

anonenigma
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by anonenigma » Fri May 03, 2019 12:22 pm

It may have changed, but last October my Costco Visa card wouldn't work on the London Underground. Fortunately, Apple Pay (linked to the same card) worked like a charm. Cash price can be a lot higher, I believe.

anonenigma
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by anonenigma » Fri May 03, 2019 12:25 pm

mariezzz wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 12:15 pm
quantAndHold wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:39 am
Great. That’s what I was figuring. We’ll get £50 or same token amount just to have walking around money, and use Apple Pay for the rest.

Thanks, all!
If you have a no-foreign-fee ATM card, like with capital one 360 checking, I wouldn't exchange any money until you get to London. Go to an ATM that you're sure is an ATM & withdraw (I'd do a little research to find an ATM that has a very low/no fee for withdrawals (the ATM itself may change while capital one 360 doesn't). The ATMs attached to Sainsbury grocery stores (can't remember the bank name) worked for me a few years ago - I think most ATMs attached to banks give you a good exchange rate - you'll generally get a poor exchange rate if you make the exchange at a US bank. You don't need cash right away in London - all the transport options will take credit cards. I might take $50 US just in case, but that's about all.

Do NOT exchange money at Heathrow. The machines there that look like ATMs are not bank ATMS and you get a horrible exchange rate, as you do at any in-person exchange spot (in airports or around town). There are articles online about this.
Bookmark the Allpoint website - that's the network with guaranteed free withdrawals on Capital One. We didn't need cash but were pleased to know that there was an Allpoint ATM in the convenience store on Marchmont St. No Allpoint ATMs in France, though.

fogalog
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by fogalog » Fri May 03, 2019 12:53 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 11:38 am
I can't imagine a situation now where one would pay by credit card with a slip & sign. Perhaps some American cards don't do Chip and PIN?
US credit cards do not support "Chip & PIN" - or at least I have not been able to find one that does. So when presenting a US credit card to a Chip & PIN merchant, the experience is different. On presenting a UK credit card, I enter a PIN and I'm done. On presenting a US credit card, I receive a credit card slip to sign which sometimes includes a separate "TIP" line. I would assume that anything entered here does not go to the server.

Good luck!

AtlantaP
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by AtlantaP » Fri May 03, 2019 9:54 pm

Hoping no one minds my jumping in with a London and tip related question. Long story as to why - but I am paying 375 GBP for a car service between London and Liverpool. I've been assuming I'd just hand over 100 GBP since it's a 3-4 hour drive and I super appreciate that it is even an option. Is that too much? Too little? I don't want to our driver!

Valuethinker
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by Valuethinker » Sat May 04, 2019 4:15 pm

AtlantaP wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 9:54 pm
Hoping no one minds my jumping in with a London and tip related question. Long story as to why - but I am paying 375 GBP for a car service between London and Liverpool. I've been assuming I'd just hand over 100 GBP since it's a 3-4 hour drive and I super appreciate that it is even an option. Is that too much? Too little? I don't want to our driver!
I am sorry you are not able to take a train or even a bus as they would be much cheaper.

A 10 per cent tip would seem appropriate. I would give them say 425 quid and call it even. Or 420 if you don't have the round number.

There are a lot of 50 pound note forgeries but given these will be fresh and you are a foreigner you should be ok.

Just make sure they are Bank of England notes. There are Bank of Scotland or Roysl Bank of Scotland notes issued north of the border and technically they are not legal tender in England (there are also Bank of Ulster notes issued in Northrtn Ireland). You could exchange them at a bank and some large Lonfon stores will accept them but a cabbie would be within their rights to refuse to accept them.

The Wizard
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by The Wizard » Sat May 04, 2019 4:28 pm

Don't cabbies and other car drivers take contactless credit cards in the UK?
Attempted new signature...

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sat May 04, 2019 4:34 pm

To the OP, I concur that you'll likely need very little cash (DW and I were in London this past January, I took 100 GBP with us and brought most of it back). Only advice I can give that I don't think has been mentioned yet (if so, apologies): whichever credit card(s) you plan to use there, contact your card provider beforehand and see if they need / accept a travel notice. Some do, some don't. Last thing you want to have happen is to get there and find out that your first transaction causes them to clamp down on your card for suspected fraud. (That happened to me on a European cruise, fortunately a simple phone call straightened it out, but it could have been much worse.)
"I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people; and if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you." (Aaron Sorkin)

DrGoogle2017
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat May 04, 2019 4:59 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 10:31 am
fogalog wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:33 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:12 am
Will you possibly be in situations where you would want to tip someone using cash?
You do not need to tip anyone for anything in London (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter). The price you see is (usually) the price you pay.

Note also: do not add a tip to a credit card payment in a restaurant. It will very, very likely go straight to the institution and not to the server. Europe just isn't set up for tipping as a means of paying staff.

Good luck!
That is not true in London.

If there is a service charge (usually 12.5%) it will be on the bill at the bottom. And yes, you can ask to have it removed (see below).

Otherwise one would normally tip. 10% or more (on the gross value, i.e. including VAT).

There is an issue re restaurants not paying electronically collected service to staff, or charging a "service charge". Some chains have been named and shamed. I usually try to tip in cash.

Cabs you would normally tip 10%.
I didn’t know that, one Indian restaurant we were at, charged us 12.5%. But I was ok with it, since it’s a lot lower than what we normally tip in USA.

SR II
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Re: How much cash in London?

Post by SR II » Sat May 04, 2019 7:59 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:03 pm
KyleAAA wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:43 pm
Do you have a chip and pin credit card or just a chip and signature? Chip and signature won’t work in many automated kiosks so take cash for that, but otherwise you’ll be fine everywhere.
We’re typical Americans with chip and signature only, so I’m thinking a few pounds for kiosks and tips, and call it good. The more responses I get, the less cash we seem to need...
We were there in October. Asked the taxi from Paddington to our hotel if he took credit cards with chip and signature.

"Yes".

Then when we got the hotel, his machine in the taxi only took chip and pin. Luckily, I had enough cash to pay him!

Only place we ran into that problem.

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