Features

The best debit and credit cards to use on holiday abroad

Sarah Moore picks the best credit and debit cards to use for your holiday cash.

944_MW_P29_Per-Fin

Maximise your drinking allowance when you head off abroad

When you go on holiday, you want to spend your money on sightseeing and eating and drinking, not on fees incurred for using your credit or debit cards abroad. Fortunately, there are cards on the market that let you avoid these charges.

Firstly, be aware of the kind of charges you would normally pay. Expect to pay a foreign-usage fee, where your credit- or debit-card provider will add a "load" of up to 3% of the transaction, as well as fees for using your cards to take out cash from a cash machine. Many credit cards will also charge you interest on the cash you withdraw from the moment you withdraw it until you pay off your balance. On top of that, some debit card providers such as Halifax, RBS, NatWest, Santander, Lloyds and Intelligent Finance charge a flat fee per transaction (with Halifax, this is £1.50 per transaction).

But there are several credit cards that can help you minimise this unnecessary spending. Barclaycard's Platinum Cashback Plus card is one of the cards recommended by Money Saving Expert. It doesn't charge you for spending or for taking out cash, and will give you 0.25% cashback on spending until 31 August 2023. This card is also currently the only one that doesn't charge you interest on cash taken out abroad, provided you withdraw in the local currency and pay off the balance in full each month. Note, however, that there's a 2.99% (minimum £2.99) fee if you use this card to take out money in the UK.

Tandem's credit card doesn't charge for overseas spending, and gives you 0.5% cashback for everything you spend in the UK and abroad. It does charge interest on cash withdrawals, though.

Then there's the Halifax Clarity Mastercard, which also doesn't charge for purchases anywhere in the world.

If you'd rather use a debit card, consider a challenger bank. Starling Bank is the only provider that doesn't charge you for spending or withdrawing money abroad, while Revolut and Monzo allow you take out up to £200 each month at no cost. Metro Bank doesn't charge fees for spending within Europe.

Recommended

How to use credit cards to deal with your debt
Credit cards

How to use credit cards to deal with your debt

Various types of credit card – including balance transfer and zero-interest – make owing money much less expensive, says Ruth Jackson Kirby.
16 Feb 2021
How to deal with credit-card debt
Credit cards

How to deal with credit-card debt

Feeling the pinch? There are cheaper options than a payment holiday if you owe money on your credit cards.
7 Jun 2020
Credit card tips to get you through the crisis
Credit cards

Credit card tips to get you through the crisis

Getting your money back, taking a break from payments and a safer place to leave your airmiles.
5 May 2020

Most Popular

A beginner’s guide to bitcoin: what is bitcoin?
Bitcoin

A beginner’s guide to bitcoin: what is bitcoin?

As a completely novel concept for many people, bitcoin can take a little effort to get to grips with. In the first of a short series on the cryptocurr…
1 Mar 2021
A beginner’s guide to bitcoin: how to buy bitcoin
Bitcoin

A beginner’s guide to bitcoin: how to buy bitcoin

For the novice, buying bitcoin can be a daunting prospect. Here, Dominic Frisby outlines the process from start to finish.
2 Mar 2021
What is “yield curve control” and why is it coming to a central bank near you?
Government bonds

What is “yield curve control” and why is it coming to a central bank near you?

Central banks around the world are determined not to let interest rates go up too quickly or by too much – a practice known as “yield curve control”. …
1 Mar 2021