Best Travel Money Options

Published in Travel Tips & Tricks

best travel money options

Spending the wrong way abroad could be costing you, when travelling you have many options for getting the best rate. If you don’t consider your options and go and get currency at the airport or off your high fee debit card it could be costing you up to £100's.
For example if we where to spend 1000 euro.
From a Speciality credit card repaid in Full- £781
Cash, via UK Cheapest exchange- £798
Cash from the post office – £802
Using a debit card with fees (Halifax) - £829
Change at airport (Heathrow not pre-ordered)- £864
As you can see being prepared for travelling could have saved just under £100 which could have went on a romantic meal or an attraction ticket, so planning the foreign currency prior to arrival is always key. 

The best option normally is a non-sterling transaction fee credit or debit card meaning that you don’t get charged to use your card abroad for card payment and in some cases ATM’s. When travelling regularly these cards are a must travel accessory. Although the currency conversation is very important as well as the fee, when you use a credit/debit card abroad you get a choice to either get it converted by the ATM’s bank or your own card provider. Always do the transaction in the countries currency and let your own card provider convert it as it is always a better rate regardless if you get charged by your bank/card provider or not. In our experience MasterCard and AMEX exchange rates seem to be a lot better than Visa and I would always consider this when getting a travel card.

Top pick credit cards.
Halifax Clarity MasterCard
-This card has no fees when using the card abroad for card-based transactions.
-No annual fee.
-No Cash withdrawal fees but you will get charged interest from the date of the cash withdrawal but it will only be charged at standard interest rate, but this can be dodged if you either use the card only for card based transactions or pay of the cash withdrawals every couple of days.

MBNA Everyday Plus
–This card has no fees when using the card abroad.
–There are no ATM withdrawal fees home or abroad.
–Very low interest of 7.4% APR for both Cash and card Transactions.
–This card has no fees when using the card abroad.
–There are no ATM withdrawal fees home or abroad.
–Very low interest of 7.4% APR for both Cash and card Transactions.

Aqua Reward MasterCard
–This card has no fees when using the card abroad on spend based transactions.
–Has high interest 34.9% APR but if paid off at full every month this shouldn’t matter
–APR is charged on Cash Withdrawals regardless of when it paid off though.
–Overall this card is a lot easier to get compared to other travel cards, as these may require a stronger Credit file.

Other top cards:

Post Office (MasterCard) 
–No fees when using the card abroad on spend based transactions.
–0% on all purchases for the first three months
–No cash fee to buy travel money from the post office Saga (Visa)
–No fees when using the card abroad on spend based transactions.
–0% on all purchases for the first nine months
–0% Cash interest for 55 days – but a 2% fee

Nationwide's Select (Visa - for Nationwide current account customers only).
–No fees when using the card abroad on spend based transactions.
–£25 reward on your first £25 transaction
–Earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on Sterling transactions

Top Tips
Always repay in full To make the saving of no fees you need to pay of in full every month, either via direct debit or by keeping on track of it as if you don’t you will not make much gain if you are paying interest on your spend.
Beware - Foreign ATM’s charge Cash fees as well Regardless of the card you have certain ATM machines will charge there own fee and this can slowly add up, if you are going to do a cash withdrawal I would plan your spend in advance and withdraw the maximum from the ATM so you only get one charge for one large cash withdrawal instead of a lot of smaller ones over the space of a week.
Avoid- Debit cards can be the worst way to spend abroad Eight debit cards (everyday bank cards) are the worst cards. Not only do they add a load and an ATM fee, they also charge up to £1.50 EVERY time you spend on them. These card providers are- Bank of Scotland, Halifax, IF, Lloyds, Santander, TSB, NatWest/RBS. check out our charges and fees table to find out what you are getting charged.

prepaid travel card
The next option you have is a prepaid travel card or ordering currency to be delivered online, which can work out cheaper than getting physical currency at the airport or from a high street bank. But be careful, as some companies don’t let you use credit/debit cards so you are less protected.
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Fees And Charges

Published in Travel Tips & Tricks

Fees and charges
Credit Card Fees

Provider

 

Spending

 

Withdraw Cash

Interest (APR) if paid off in full

The AA

2.99%

2.99% min. £3

27.9%

Amazon (2)

2.99%

5% min. £5

27.9%

American Express

2.99%

3% min. £3

27.9%

Asda

2.99%

3% min. £5

27.9% - 29.9%

Aqua Reward or Advance

NIL

3% min. £3

39.9% - 59.9%

Bank of Ireland

2.25%

2.5% min. £3

24.9%

Bank of Scotland

2.95%

3% min. £3

18.9% - 25.9%

Barclaycard (1)

2.99%

NIL

None (27.9% - 29.9% if not repaid in full)

Capital One

2.75%

3% min. £3

34.9%

Capital One Aspire Business / Classic Extra

NIL

3% min. £3

19.9% - 34.9%

Clydesdale/Yorkshire

2.95%

3% min. £3

27.9%

The Co-op Bank

2.75%

3% min. £3

25.9%

The Co-op Clear (2)

2.75%

NIL

12.9%

Creation Everyday

NIL

NIL

12.9% - 21.9%

Debenhams

2.75%

3% min. £3

29.9%

Egg (2)

2.95%

3% min. £5

21.9% - 23.9%

First Direct

2.99%

2.99% min. £3

24.7%

Halifax

2.95%

3% min. £3

18.9% - 25.9%

Halifax Clarity

NIL

NIL

18.9% - 25.9%

Halifax Student

2.95%

3% min. £3

19.9%

HSBC

2.99%

2.99% min. £3

23.9% - 24.7%

HSBC Premier

2.99%

2.99% min. £3

18.9%

Lloyds

2.95%

3% min. £3

18.9% - 25.9%

Lloyds Avios Rewards

NIL

3% min. £3

18.9% - 25.9%

Marks & Spencer Bank

2.99%

2.99% min. £3

23.9%

MBNA

2.99%

5%

27.9%

MBNA Everyday Plus

NIL

NIL

7.4% - 12.9%

Nationwide (2)

2%

2.5% min. £3

27.9%

Nationwide Select

NIL

2.5% min. £3

27.9%

NatWest

2.75%

3%

29.9%

Post Office (Matched)

2.99%

2.5% min. £3

27.9%

Post Office (Platinum)

NIL

2.5% min. £3

27.9%

RBS

2.75%

3%

27.9%

Saga

NIL

2% min. £2

None (19.6% if not repaid in full)

Sainsbury's

2.75%

3% min. £3

25.9% - 28.9%

Sainsbury's Gold (3)

NIL

NIL

None (24.9% if not repaid in full)

Santander

2.95%

3% min. £3

29.9%

Santander 123

NIL (4)

 

 

Santander Zero (3)

NIL

NIL

29.9%

Smile

2.75%

3% min. £3

25.9%

Tesco Bank

2.75%

3% min. £3

24.9% - 27.9%

TSB

2.95%

3% min. £3

18.9% - 25.9%

TSB Advance

2.95%

3% min. £3

11.9 %

TSB Avios

2.95%

3% min. £3

17.9% - 25.9%

TSB Premier Avios

2.95%

3% min. £3

13.9%

Virgin Money

2.99%

5% min. £5

27.9%

Virgin Atlantic

2.75%

2%

20.9%

Nationwide Select

NIL

2.5% min. £3

27.9%

NatWest

2.75%

3%

29.9%

Post Office (Matched)

2.99%

2.5% min. £3

27.9%

Post Office (Platinum)

NIL

2.5% min. £3

27.9%

RBS

2.75%

3%

27.9%

Saga

NIL

2% min. £2

None (19.6% if not repaid in full)

Sainsbury's

2.75%

3% min. £3

25.9% - 28.9%

Sainsbury's Gold (3)

NIL

NIL

None (24.9% if not repaid in full)

Santander

2.95%

3% min. £3

29.9%

Santander 123

NIL (4)

 

 

Santander Zero (3)

NIL

NIL

29.9%

Smile

2.75%

3% min. £3

25.9%

Tesco Bank

2.75%

3% min. £3

24.9% - 27.9%

TSB

2.95%

3% min. £3

18.9% - 25.9%

TSB Advance

2.95%

3% min. £3

11.9 %

TSB Avios

2.95%

3% min. £3

17.9% - 25.9%

TSB Premier Avios

2.95%

3% min. £3

13.9%

Virgin Money

2.99%

5% min. £5

27.9%

Virgin Atlantic

2.75%

2%

20.9%

 

UK debit card overseas charges

If you use your debit card overseas, there's usually a non-sterling transaction fee, which will apply to both purchases and ATM withdrawals. You'll also usually be charged a cash machine fee, but there'll be no interest charged as it's taking cash from your current account.

Provider

Non-sterling transaction fee

Cash withdrawal Fee (non-sterling fee will also be charged)

Barclays

2.99%

£1.50 (except Barclays or 'Global Alliance' ATMs)

Bank of Scotland

2.99% + £1 per purchase

1.5% min. £2 max £4.50

Clydesdale/Yorkshire

2.75% min £1.50

3.75% min £1.50

The Co-op Bank

2.75%

2% min. £2

Danske Bank

2.75% + £0.75 per purchase

£1.25 per withdrawal

First Direct 1st Directory

2.75%

NIL

First Direct 1st Direct

2.75%

2% min. £1.75 max £5

Halifax

2.75% + £1.50 per purchase

£1.50 per withdrawal

HSBC

2.75%

2% min. £1.75, max £5

HSBC Premier/Advance

2.75%

NIL

Lloyds

2.99% + £1 per purchase

1.5% min. £2 max £4.50

Lloyds Platinum/Premier

2.99%

1.5% min. £2 max £4.50

Marks & Spencer Bank

2.75%

NIL

Metrobank (Europe)

NIL

NIL

Metrobank (Worldwide)

1.9%

£1

Nationwide

2%

£1

Nationwide FlexPlus

2% on spending. 0% on cash withdrawals

NIL

NatWest

2.75% min. £1 for purchases

2% min. £2, max £5

Norwich & Peterborough Gold Classic (£5/mth fee if you don't pay in £500 or make 5+ transactions)

NIL

NIL

RBS

2.75% min. £1 for purchases

2% min. £2, max £5

Santander

2.75% + £1.25 per purchase

1.5% min. £1.99 (waived if using Santander cash machines in Spain)

Santander Zero

NIL

NIL

Smile

2.75%

2% min. £2

Tesco Bank

2.75%

1%

TSB

2.99% + £1 per purchase

1.5% min. £2 max £4.50

TSB Platinum/Premier

2.99%

1.5% min. £2 max £4.50

Ulster Bank

2.65% + £0.75 per purchase

2.25% min. £2 max £5

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