Best debit and credit cards to use while travelling

If you’re going on holiday or travel regularly, it’s worth knowing what the best possible card is to avoid hefty fees while abroad

The start of the year is always a popular time for booking a holiday and despite the rising costs of living, households are not giving up on a getaway, with holiday companies reporting a surge in bookings this month.

Keeping costs in mind, it’s important you use the right credit or debit card when abroad - the wrong card could see you stung by as much as 3% in foreign exchange charges, slapped on by your bank. This can really dent your holiday budget.

But, you can avoid these charges by using a bank card that comes with free overseas spending. Often, you will also benefit from a competitive exchange rate, meaning your money will go further.

We list the best credit or debit cards to pack when going on holiday. 

Best credit cards to use when travelling

If you are using a credit card, make sure you are in a position to pay off your bill in full at the end of each month, otherwise interest charges will cancel out the benefits. If you are applying for a credit card, always go through an eligibility checker, like the one from our sister site Go.Compare, to see what you can get.

Barclays Rewards Visa

  • No fees on spending or ATM withdrawals abroad
  • 0.25% cashback on purchases 
  • No interest on cash withdrawals if paid in full
  • Protection on purchases over £100 
  • Representative APR - 25.9% 

Halifax Clarity Mastercard

  • No fees on spending or ATM withdrawals abroad 
  • Purchases at home and overseas over £100 and up to £30,000 are covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 
  • Interest on cash withdrawals ranges between 22.94% and 28.94%, charged per day until paid off 
  • Representative APR of 25.9% 

Natwest Credit Card Mastercard

  • Available only to existing NatWest customers 
  • No foreign transaction fees 
  • 3% fee on ATM withdrawals 
  • Representative APR of 12.9% 
  • Note: Interest on cash withdrawals ranges between 26.9% to 29.9%, charged daily until paid off 

Virgin Money Travel Credit Card

  • No fees on overseas spending 
  • 3% fee on ATM withdrawals  
  • 22.9% representative APR 
  • 28.9% interest on cash withdrawals, charged daily until paid off 

Zopa Credit Card 

  • No fees abroad 
  • £3 fee on ATM withdrawals 
  • Representative APR of 34.9% 
  • 34.9% interest on cash withdrawals, charged daily until paid off 

Best debit cards to use while abroad 

Most banks will slap on around 3% to your transactions made abroad when you use your debit card, so if you do not have a travel friendly travel card, make sure you’re banking with the right bank that does not charge you to use your money when travelling abroad. Here are the banks that do not charge fees when using your debit card abroad. Although it is worth noting that ATM withdrawal fees may still incur a fee, often set by the ATM provider.

Chase Bank

  • No fees on spending or cash withdrawals at home or abroad
  • 1% cashback on your spending for 12 months 
  • Note you can only manage this account in-app 
  • Maximum £1,500 ATM limit while abroad, per calendar month

Starling Bank

  • No fees on spending or cash withdrawals at home or abroad 
  • Manage in-app and online 
  • Maximum £300 ATM limit white abroad 

Virgin Money

  • No fees on spending or cash withdrawals at home or abroad
  • Maximum £500 ATM limit while abroad 

Monzo

  • Fee free spending 
  • Cash withdrawals in the EEA are fee-free if you use Monzo as your main bank account, otherwise you pay 3% on withdrawals over £250 every 30 days 
  • Make cash withdrawals outside of the EEA of up to £200 every 30 days for free, anything over that incurs a 3% charge. 

We also list the best credit cards for cashback if you want to make the most of your purchases at home.

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