Using your existing standard bank issue debit card or credit card when you’re on holiday or business outside the UK can prove expensive due to the charges levied, but there are cheaper alternatives worth packing with your passport.
Check out the best buys for holiday credit cards, debit cards and foreign currency delivery here.
Don’t get stung by high cost card charges
For example make a cash withdrawal with a TSB debit card abroad and you’ll be charged a 2.99% non sterling transaction charge plus a 1.50% (minimum £1.50) withdrawal fee.
That means a £200 withdrawal from a cash machine will set you back charges of £8.98.
If you use the card to make a purchase you’ll be charged the 2.99% non sterling levy plus a fixed charge of £1 per transaction.
Most debit and credit cards charge a 2.75% to 2.99% non-sterling mark up on all ATM and purchase transactions, plus you’ll pay up to an extra 5% for cash withdrawals with some credit cards such as MBNA and Virgin Money.
Here are three low cost alternatives to use when travelling abroad:
1.Barclaycard Rewards -unlike the majority of credit cards, this particular Barclaycard doesn’t charge any fees or interest charges on purchases or overseas cash withdrawals, as long as you pay your credit card statement in full by the due date. As a small added bonus you also get 0.25% cashback on your spending – full card details here
2.Currensea – Currensea offers a different alternative if you don’t want to take out a new credit card. It provides you with a Mastercard that you link to your existing current account, the beauty is that you don’t have to worry about preloading with Euros or Dollars before you set off and the FX fees are a fraction of those charged by most UK debit and credit cards.
The card comes with three price plans – Essential, Premium and Elite.
The essential plan comes with no annual fee and offers a competitive 0.5% FX loading on purchases.
For ATM withdrawals the same 0.5% FX charge applies and there are no additional charges for the first £500 taken out of the ATM each month – anything above this monthly limit attracts a 2% fee.
For frequent travellers the premium plan (£25 per annum) or elite (£120 per annum) may be more cost effective as they come with lower FX pricing and additional features – you can compare the three plans here.
3. Wise – this is a travel money card, also called a currency card, and is a type of a card which allows you to keep and spend multiple currencies while travelling overseas. It charges a small exchange fee. The fee depends on the currency – for example, exchanging GB pounds to US dollars or Euros has a 0.41% fee, It also allows two fee-free cash withdrawals up to £200 each month (1.75% for anything above £200 per month). Note – there is a one off fee of £7 when you order your card.
Unlike travel money cash, you don’t even need to have the money converted beforehand — simply use the travel money card in stores, coffee shops, online or withdraw from ATMs, and the amount automatically converted for you from any currency you hold . Card details and full charging information here.