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Guide to using cards abroad
 
 

A guide to

By Nevena Mulyachka and Mark Todd
Nevena is moneyhelpline’s marketing manager, specialising in money products such as insurance, credit cards, loans and savings. Mark is one of the founders of energyhelpline and moneyhelpline. He is regularly on BBC1 and Radio 5 Live commenting on switching and saving.

Last updated 1/12/16






Most cards, both debit and credit, offer poor rates for using abroad, charging you around 3% commission on top of the exchange rates you get. In fact, debit cards actually tend to have the worst fees as they can charge another fee of up to £1.50 every time you spend abroad.

Hidden charges also rack up and include fees for cash withdrawals, interest charges even if you pay off in full, adding loads onto the exchange rate and some even charge a penalty every time you spend.

A word of caution

 

How much does it cost to use your credit/debit cards abroad:

There are two costs that one incurs – exchange rate loading often 2.75% - this is the spread the bank takes on the exchange rate - and then a further fee for use of the foreign ATM often 2% or a minimum £2.

Barclays
2.99% non-sterling transaction fee when making purchases, withdrawing cash or when being refunded + £1.50 non-sterling cash fee when using ATM other than Barclays or a Global Alliance member bank. £4.49 for every £100

Bank of Scotland
2.99% non-sterling transaction fee + £1 non-sterling purchase fee per purchase (£3.99 for every £100) or 2.99% non-sterling transaction fee + 1.5% (min £2) for cash withdrawals (£4.99 for every £100)

Co Op
2.75% non-sterling transaction fee + 2% (min £2) for each non-sterling transaction - load or cash withdrawal (£4.75 for every £100)

Halifax
2.75% non-sterling transaction fee + £1.50 for each non-sterling transaction - load or cash withdrawal (£4.25 for every £100)

HSBC
2.75% non-sterling transaction fee for purchases and 2.75% non-sterling transaction fee + 2% cash fee (min £1.75) - (£4.50 for every £100)

Lloyds
2.99% non-sterling transaction fee + £1 non-sterling purchase fee per purchase (£3.99 for every £100) or 2.99% non-sterling transaction fee + 1.5% (min £2) for cash withdrawals (£4.99 for every £100)

Nationwide
2% non-sterling transaction fee (£2 for every £100). For more info, visit Nationwide

NatWest
Foreign Cash Fee of 2% (min £2, max £5) + Non-sterling Transaction Fee of 2.75% of the value of the transaction £4.75 for every £100

RBS
Foreign Cash Fee of 2% (min £2, max £5) + Non-sterling Transaction Fee of 2.75% of the value of the transaction £4.75 for every £100

Santander
2.75% non-sterling transaction fee + £1.25 non-sterling purchase fee per purchase (£4 for every £100) or 1.5% (min £1.99) for cash withdrawals (£1.99 for every £100)

TSB
2.99% non-sterling transaction fee + £1 non-sterling purchase fee per purchase (£3.99 for every £100 or 2.99% non-sterling transaction fee + 1.5% (min £2) for cash withdrawals (£4.99 for every £100)

 

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The Good News!

Specilised travel credit cards don't charge you when you spend on them abroad. Especially if you are a frequent traveller, it is a good idea to get one of these cards. Some of the top cards you can get:

Click here to compare credit cards for using abroad

 


Tricks of the Trade:

When asked if you want to pay in pounds or euros - always choose the local currency. If you choose pounds, the retailer does the currency conversion, whereas if you choose the local currency, it’s your card that does the exchange. The retailer’s conversion rates are often poor and if you have a specialist card, its rate is often unbeatable!

 

 

Credit Cards

 These guides are for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice. For best personal advice contact a financial adviser.

 
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