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Money Blog Series: Using your card on a weekend activity break

May 12, 2016

PART 1: MONEY BLOG TRAVEL INSURANCE 

PART 2: MONEY BLOG CHEAP FLIGHTS 

PART 3: MONEY BLOG MOBILE CHARGES 

PART 4: MONEY BLOG USING YOUR CARD 

It’s inevitable. We get money changed before we go on holiday but we’ve underestimated how much we need. In most countries it’s safe to find a local ATM and lift a little bit more to keep you going! It’s always best to tell your bank that you’re travelling before you leave, that way if you do have to lift money in a foreign country they won’t block your card/freeze your account. Most banks will happily put a note against your account saying you are travelling, all you have to do is ring them when you return and they’ll remove it!

That being said, access isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when using your card. It’s best to brush up on transaction fees as well – as most banks will charge you every time you lift money from an ATM or purchase something (in a shop or restaurant). It’s best to lift money in large chunks if you’re abroad to minimise the amount of fees you get charged. The table below, accessed from Which.co.uk, is great for keeping in the know about debit card charges (correct Feb 2016).

Withdrawal Fee: This is the amount you’ll be charged when you use a debit/credit card at an ATM, percentage of amount withdrawn.

Loading fee: The fee often charged when a card makes a conversion to foreign currency – usually around 2.75%.

Purchase Fee: The fee charged by the seller to carry out the exchange into foreign currency.

Debit card overseas charges on standard current accounts

Provider

Network

Foreign loading fee

Purchase fee

Withdrawal fee

Total  charge*

Marks and Spencer Bank

Visa

2.75%

No fee

No fee

£6.88

Nationwide BS

 

Visa

2%

No fee

£1

£8.00

Clydesdale Bank

 

Visa

2.75% or £1.50 min

No fee

3.75% or £1.50 min

£8.63

Barclaysa

 

Visa

2.99%

No fee

£1.50 min

£11.98

First Direct

 

Visa

2.75%

No fee

2.00% or £1.75 min, £5.00 max

£12.13

HSBC

 

Visa

2.75%

No fee

2.00% or £1.75 min, £5.00 max

£12.13

NatWest

 

Visa

No fee

2.75% or £1 min

2.00% or £2.00 min, £5.00 max

£12.88

Royal Bank of Scotland

 

Visa

No fee

2.75% or £1 min

2.00% or £2.00 min, £5.00 max

£12.88

The Co-operative Bank

 

Visa

2.75%

No Fee

2.00% or £2.00 min

£12.88

Halifax

 

Visa

2.75%

£1.50

£1.50

£14.38

Santander

 

Visa

2.75%

£1.25

1.50% or £1.99 min

£15.35

Bank of Scotland

 

Visa

2.99%

£1.00

1.50% or £2.00 min, £4.50 max

£15.48

Lloyds Bank

 

Visa

2.99%

£1.00

1.50% or £2.00 min, £4.50 max

£15.48

TSB

 

Visa

2.99%

£1.00

1.50% or £2.00 min, £4.50 max

£15.48

 

*Total charge based on 2 x £50 purchases and 3 x £50 cash withdrawals. Information correct at February 2016.

Which. 2016. Bank Accounts: Charges to use your debit card Abroad, available at: http://www.which.co.uk/money/bank-accounts/reviews-ns/bank-accounts/charges-to-use-your-debit-card-abroad/. [Accessed 10 May 2016]

So hopefully you know feel a bit more prepared to embark on your weekend activity break and use your card! You can never know too much though, so I’d recommend reading up on your own banks policies…

PART 5: MONEY BLOG CASH AND HOW TO TIP

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