Best debit and credit cards to use while travelling abroad

You will want to know the best cards to use abroad if you’re going on holiday or travel abroad regularly. We weigh up the charges and cashback perks to reveal the best cards for overseas travel

Best cards to use abroad
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Many of us will be planning to escape towards sunnier climes to spend our holidays. In fact, this year looks set to be a bumper year for holidays abroad. 

A study by Post Office Travel Money reveals that over half of Brits are planning holidays abroad in 2024, with many looking for the best travel money deals

If you're thinking of budgeting, you should go beyond the cost of the holiday or the cheapest countries to travel to, and also think about how you are going to spend your money and pay for things on your trip, while steering clear of holiday scams

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The wrong card could see you stung by around 3% in fees and charges, which can add up to hundreds of pounds for a big family holiday abroad and dent your holiday budget. 

But you can avoid these charges by using a debit or credit card that comes with zero fees. Often, you will also benefit from a competitive exchange rate, meaning your money will go further. Some will even give you cashback whenever you spend on the card.

We list the best cards to use abroad.

Best credit cards for travel abroad

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. 

Barclaycard 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 - 28.9%

Halifax Clarity Mastercard 

  • No fees on spending abroad and no ATM withdrawal fees on up to £500 per day
  • Purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 are covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act
  • Interest on cash withdrawals ranges between 23.94% and 29.94%, charged per day until paid off
  • Representative APR of 23.9%

NatWest Credit Card Mastercard 

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 3% fee on ATM withdrawals
  • Representative APR of 12.9%
  • Interest on cash withdrawals ranges between 26.9% to 29.9%, charged daily until paid off
  • If you go over your credit limit by £12 or pay late, you will be charged a £12 fee

Have a look at the best credit cards for cashback or credit cards with 0% on purchases if you want to make the most of your purchases at home. If you want to slash the cost of existing credit card debt, you can also use 0% balance transfer credit cards and save yourself hundreds of pounds in interest payments. 

Best debit cards for travelling abroad

Most banks and building societies will slap on around 3% to your transactions made abroad when you use your debit card - rising to almost 5% for ATM withdrawals. So, it makes sense to either open another current account with a travel-friendly debit card, or take out a travel credit card. 

You can also get a travel debit card that connects to your usual current account, meaning you don’t need to open another current account.

Here are the banks that do not charge fees when using your debit card abroad. However, 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
  • After 12 months you will need to deposit a minimum of £1,500 monthly to keep getting the 1% cashback 
  • Note you can only manage this account in-app
  • Maximum £1,500 ATM limit while abroad, per calendar month

First Direct

  • No fees on purchases made abroad
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals abroad, up to £500 a day
  • Get an interest-free overdraft on £250 (subject to your credit history)
  • £175 switching bonus if you open the current account, and access to its 7% regular saver account. Find out if you qualify for the £175 bonus

Starling Bank 

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


  • Fee-free spending
  • Cash withdrawals in the European Economic Area (EEA) are fee-free
  • No fee on cash withdrawals outside the EEA on up to £200 every 30 days. Anything over that sum incurs a 3% charge.

Currensea Essential Card

  • Currensea debit card links to your existing current account, so offers a good alternative if you don’t want to switch banks
  • No fees on spending or ATM withdrawals
  • Maximum ATM limit of £500 per month. Anything over will be charged at 2% on up to £1,500 at international ATMs
  • Send between £100 and £20,000 abroad with a 0.5% flat-fee per transfer
Nicole García Mérida

Nic studied for a BA in journalism at Cardiff University, and has an MA in magazine journalism from City University. She joined MoneyWeek in 2019.

With contributions from