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