When you are abroad, using your credit card or debit card can be an expensive move that you probably wont realise how much it has cost, till you return home and receive your monthly statement.
But by picking the right credit card spending on your cards abroad can be better than Travellers’ cheques and Bureaux de exchange, by cutting out charges of up to around the £90 mark, this is savings on commission that banks and travel agents place on there currency exchange before you go and then when you get back, if you have any of your holiday cash left. It’s all about picking the right card, as some can cost you a lot more than you bargained for.
Trying to read through which card will be for the best, can be a mind busting process, so by trying to explain some of the charges made by the card companies maybe will go some of the way of helping you decide which is the best for you.
There are four charges that relate to credit cards, with three of the same charges coming hand in hand with debit cards, the first of these charges that applies to both cards is the loaded exchange rates, this means that the card issuers will add on a charge in the region of 2.75% when the card is used, this means if you say spend £150 you will actually be paying £154.12 for the amount you spent. Though a plus point is you will receive the going rate of exchange on your Dollars or Euros from the Visa/ MasterCard’s wholesale rate that is free of the normal everyday charges associated with banks and the Bureaux de Exchange and gives you the full value of the currency that you are using.
The second charge that comes into force with both types of card is the charge made when you withdraw cash from an ATM on your visit to a foreign land, this will be around the 2% mark in most cases and carries with it a minimum fee of £2. To combat this it is best that you pay for anything that you wish to purchase with the card, though look out for debit cards that have a charge attached when making a purchase, some of the main offenders are the Halifax Bank of Scotland with a fee of £1.50 and the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Nat West who each charge £0.75 per spend.
The third and final charge that is placed on both cards is the charge that is made by the banks that you will use abroad, this is almost in most cases in America, though different banks maybe charging different scales of fees, the best idea is to shop around and find the cheapest bank you can find.
The last one to be on guard with is the interest charges that will be made to your credit card; this will not apply to a debit card, if you do find that you withdraw cash while on a visit abroad, check before you go on what the charge will be made on your card, this will probably make up your mind for you. Interest can come in at a much higher rate than spending normally on the card an example being Capital One’s No Hassle Platinum Card charging 20.5 % on cash withdrawn compared to 6.9% on spending, so be careful.
If you are thinking of using a card abroad then look no further than the Nationwide Debit card that will have no charges attached to it, can save you up to the region of £90 on other cards, though to be successful in applying for this card you will have to open a bank account with them, though not the worst by any means, your current one could be working better for you.