With the Euro hitting an all time low against the Pound, now is a great time to exchange money if you are planning to go abroad in the next few months. Most people don’t just take cash, they also rely on credit cards to get them out of bother, or for impulse buys and extra expenditure, however, if you make purchases or withdraw money from your credit card whilst you are abroad, you will be subject to extra charges from your credit card provider. So, if you are travelling overseas in the summer months, and want to get a credit card that will not charge you extra when you are abroad, you need to start looking now. Some are actually designed for use abroad and they typically take a few weeks to get shipped out to you so it is worth researching which ones offer the best rates and transfer fees.
And if you think that you will not resort to using your credit card when you are abroad, think of how many times it comes in handy when you are in this country; you probably use it more than you realise. But if there were heavy excess charges levied on every transaction you made with your credit card, you would think again before you used it. However, when you are overseas, you might not have the chance to get hold of your own cash and having a credit card might come in very handy. What usually happens is when we are abroad and every time we use our card, a foreign exchange fee (known also as a loading fee or a conversion fee), sometimes up to 2.99%, is applied. You also get a standard cash withdrawal charge that will either be charged as a flat rate or a percentage of the amount you have withdrawn. However, do not despair as there are some credit cards that are especially designed for overseas use and have great transfer and balance rates. So which ones are they?
The best overseas credit cards that we could find are the Halifax Clarity card and the Sainsbury’s Gold. Each have a monthly fee of £5 but these are the only ones that will not charge either a foreign exchange fee or withdrawal fees for anywhere in the world. Next best are the Post Office and Saga Platinum cards, plus the Nationwide’s Select credit card (only for FlexAccount holders). These cards will not charge you for purchase buying when you are abroad, but you will get charged if you make any cash withdrawals. The problem with these kinds of credit cards is that the providers will want you to have excellent credit records so if you do not, there is the alternative of a pre-paid credit card in which you top up a card before you go on holiday. If money is short on holiday however, try not to use these types of cards for deposits, such as a room or car hire deposit as the money will come straight off the card.
Some prepaid credit cards have all sorts of extra charges attached to them, for instance set-up fees, purchase fees, and even loading fees, so be careful to read the small print when you apply for one. One good prepaid card is the FairFX prepaid card; you can top it up free of charge by debit card or bank transfer. One point to note is that most prepaid cards do come with a cash withdrawal fee so keep ATM withdrawals to a minimum.