ICE Ireland ‘Currency Exchange’? – NO THANKS!

Currency Exchange

One of the worst things that a business can do is to say to a customer: “we don’t do that here sorry” – especially when it would take no extra effort or expenditure to facilitate a successful transaction and, more importantly, to enable a pleasant interaction which might lead to a future relationship of mutual benefit.

Case in point: I am waiting at Dublin Airport before boarding a flight to Southend in 2 hours time. I’m flying to the UK in order to attend the Bitcoin Expo at Brick Lane, London tomorrow.

Bitcoin Expo

Last month I visited friends in the beautiful Isle of Man and I still have 25 pounds sterling left over from that trip in my pocket (pictured below). It’s legal tender but it’s issued by the Isle of Man government with a Manx design on the notes.

I asked the lady at the currency exchange (pictured above) if she would mind changing it to regular British sterling because the Manx currency will not be accepted in shops in mainland UK (although most high-street banks will make the exchange).

Ten Pounds

However that was more than her job was worth (or perhaps it is company policy?) so she refused to help me. I’m positive that the firm in question – ICE Ireland Currency Exchange makes regular trips to their bank to change currency back and forth so why couldn’t they help me out with this simple exchange?

I won’t be using this firm again to change currency anytime I am travelling. I’ll take extra time necessary to find another currency vendor – for instance, their competitor Bank of Ireland, who also have an outlet in Dublin Airport.


The sooner Bitcoin is the world’s currency of choice, and we no longer require the services of currency exchange parasites – with their unaccomodating customer service, lopsided conversion rates and hefty transaction fees, then the better for us all!

Addition: Moneycorp at Southend Airport – which is actually in the UK (!) would not facilitate this simple currency swap either – I guess they don’t understand the meaning of good customer service either!


About Adam Byrne

Freelance Entrepreneur
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9 Responses to ICE Ireland ‘Currency Exchange’? – NO THANKS!

  1. Adam, I’ve had the same thing with Scottish notes in England, assumed it was chauvinism, but they are promises to pay NOT ‘legal tender’ as I understand it, so there’s probably some ridiculous legal/insurance stuff informing these seemingly arbitrary refusals. Ditto Manx, as deposit losses during financial crisis showed, they are not under UK umbrella as they’re dodgy Crown tax dodges. Hope you enjoyed Sarfend! It’s an interesting story, Southend Airport: Stobart Trucking expansion, etc.

  2. PhilipMurtagh says:

    I am not a great fan of currency as I believe it should be about preservation of worth of work done rather than being a value of itself. If there was no inflation, it would act as the net off of all transactions ever made by you. It is in effect a summary memory. Indeed one of bitcoin attributes ( same for many of the digital currencies) is unstealability…it provides non repudiable transaction playback in a secure manner. Proof of ownership is (for now) easy.

    But I think we are missing a trick. Google glass it is said can hold your entire life recorded video and voice in about 300Gbyte of space…about 20 USD worth of tech in a data centre. Well if you can play that back you can rebuild anyone’s worth…something to think about particularly when you have IBMs Watson 2.0 being able to generate your transaction history just by analysing and parsing your audio and video lifeline in seconds.

    Yes…bitcoin may be the tidy no nonsense way of providing that numerative baseline. But if you want to make it inflation proof and show value of house workers and people who do you a favour…why not go the whole hog and record the lot. After all…is that not what is suppose to happen when you meet St Peter at the Pearly Gates.

    • Adam Byrne says:

      Thanks for the comments Philip. Fascinating stuff that will take me some time to digest.

      Regarding bitcoin, I am not a fanatic but I appreciate its usefulness as well as its elegance.

      I think you should get half a bitcoin yourself to see where it takes us. I’ll sell you one at the lowest market price. Or a quarter or whatever you can afford. I’m not trying to get your money haha – I don’t need it. I could sell to an exchange for a higher price but a I think a man with your (relatively!) scientfic outlook on life would value the experience of bitcoin, given a push. What do you say?

      Thanks again see you on ‘the’ blog.

  3. G says:

    I can see why its annoying, but it wasn’t really her having bad customer service. It would make no business sense for them to accept notes only a tiny island would accept. Its like how a badly torn note is still money but a lot of people wouldn’t take it. If she was to take it even if its legal tender then she would have broke the status quo as defacto notes are English notes, so if a customer got back an IOM note they probably would be annoyed and not want it, they would only get rid of it on the odd chance one of their customers goto the IOM. It would be bad business sense for them to take it and knowing it be hard to pass on, it would be like giving you English Pounds notes for free because the IOM note is worthless outside it.

    I am not trying to be a smart ass or anything, just trying see it from a business point of view.

    • Adam Byrne says:

      Hello G.

      Thanks for your comment – I know you are not trying to be a smart ass.

      The Isle of Man notes are not ‘worthless’ though – they are sterling notes – legal tender, with just a different Manx design on them – in the same way as Scottish notes are, as Andrew mentioned above.

      All that ICE would have to do is deposit them to their bank account – their bank should be able to keep them in their reserves until they reach a certain amount, and then send them to a central clearing (or larger) branch to be swapped for notes of their own region.

      I worked in the Isle of Man Bank for a couple of years in the early 90s and that’s what we used to do whenever we came across Scottish or Northern Irish (or Channel Islands) notes (I can’t recall ever seeing Welsh notes).

      We would keep them until we had a convenient amount (say £1000), then they would be sent off to a bigger branch (and so on, onwards) to be swapped for regular British notes (which are accepted in the Isle of Man as well as sterling notes of Manx design).

      They were still counted on the bank’s accounts during the time that they were sitting in the bank’s vault waiting to be swapped so it’s not as if the bank lost anything. We regularly had up to £20 million in cash reserves in the vault of the particular branch that I worked in (one of my jobs was to count it daily) so £1000 in regional notes sitting for a week or two was not going to disturb the banks cash flow in any way, shape or form.

      Then again, these days the bank might also refuse this effortless service – for no good reason – as we all know customer service has gone to the dogs in the Western World over the past couple of decades – which seems to be a recurring theme of my blog!

      Actually, you are probably right – it’s more like unhelpful policy than bad customer service in this case – but either way these types of organizations just don’t seem to want to help people in this day and age – unless they can charge through the nose for it. Common courtesy and helpfulness has long since been flung on the scrap heap.



  4. PhilipMurtagh says:

    Came across this from Mr Mason in the Guardian. Explains where we are and where we are headed to some degree. Even relates to the crappier and crappier experiences we are getting in our race to the bottom culture…

    • Adam Byrne says:

      Thanks Philip, it’s a great article, I read it last week on The Guardian. I even shared it on David McWilliams blog although no one commented on it! I am really looking forward to Mason’s book coming out on the 30th of this having read that article. Overall the article makes me very optimistic for the future, not pessimistic. Hope you are well, we should have another night in The Palace soon. Regards, Adam.

      • PhilipMurtagh says:

        All’s well and same to you. Definitely, another night in the Palace appeals. I shall also be supplying the usual copious amounts of cold water to toss on all things conspiratorial, new fangled etc. All for a laugh.

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