/ Money

Is your bank cashing-in on your holiday?

Euros and prepaid exchange card

With a multitude of different fees charged by credit and debit card providers it’s hard to track how much you’re paying to use your card abroad. Unfortunately, some banks are charging far too much.

When we go on holiday we often push the thought of debit card charges to the back of our minds. After all, when you’re on holiday the last thing you want to do is worry about what your bank is charging you for every transaction.

And then there’s the exchange rate – are you getting a good deal or paying through the nose?

The truth is it all adds up – and to perhaps more than you think.

Which banks are charging the most?

When I checked the rates charged by all the major debit card providers on the market I was surprised by the variety of fees that they can apply on purchases and withdrawals.

The banks making the most out of holidaymakers are NatWest/RBS, Halifax/Bank of Scotland, Santander and Lloyds TSB. All of these charge a foreign loading fee of 2.75% or 2.99% on every transaction, as well as transaction fees for making purchases and cash withdrawals.

When factoring in all the fees, the amount you’re charged quickly adds up. For example, if you made ten £20 purchases and five £50 cash withdrawals abroad (a total of £700) you would be charged £34.88 by Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Natwest and RBS.

Is it possible to avoid the fees?

The good news is that there are some decent products that could save you money on overseas charges. Norwich and Peterborough BS (N&P) and Metro Bank charge no overseas fees on their current accounts. Nationwide BS offers the next best deal, charging a 2% foreign loading fee and £1 per cash withdrawal.

Alternatively you could opt for a good credit card that charges no foreign loading fees. There are also some good euro and dollar prepaid cards that will charge 0% foreign loading and no fees on purchases.

If N&P, Metro and, to a lesser degree Nationwide BS, can manage to absorb the overseas fees, why can’t the rest? And why is it so complicated? Far too often, not only do you have to pay a percentage of your overseas spending in fees, they then whack a per-transaction cost on top, penalising people who prefer not to carry large amounts of cash around with them.

How much does your bank charge you to use your card abroad? How do you avoid it, or are you happy to pay a bit extra when you’re on your hols?

Comments
Guest
L.M.High says:
18 February 2012

I used to pay the tollgates in France with my card (much easier than searching for spare cash) but now Santander has taken over Alliance & Leicester, for a 2.80 euro tollgate charge the cost is 50% over at exchange rate of £2.53 + int.use fee of £0.07+ transaction fee £1.25 !! Multiply that five or six times on a journey in one day and it becomes outrageous.
Ironically their statements urge one to “use your card for everyday items” and “use your card abroad”!
Very good for their profits! Ha!

Guest
David says:
18 February 2012

There’s nothing worse than getting your bank statement after a holiday and seeing the extortionate charges. Like the above commentator I have ended up banking with Santander having switched to Alliance & Leicester several years ago. Imagine my disgust at returning from a holiday in Spain to find my Spanish bank has charged me for using their services. It would be interesting to see what the real cost is to these multi-national corporations when using a card or ATM abroad. Is this the next large scale fee scandal?

Guest
Nigel Whitfield says:
18 February 2012

I have the firstdirectory option on my account, which gives me free cash withdrawals abroad, as well as travel insurance, etc. Sure, it’s about £12 a month, but at least I get a benefit.

When you have to pay each time you take money out, you end up taking more – at least I did. So I’d take 150 or 200 euro at a time, because that way the charge was easier to stomach as a percentage. Then I’d have loads of euros left at the end of a trip, doing nothing – especially annoying as I have an offset mortage.

Being able to take money out without paying a penalty means I can take what I need, and not worry about having excess foreign currency left.

Of course, if other banks can absorb the cost, you can’t help wondering why FD doesn’t too, for everyone, but at least you get other benefits with firstdirectory

Guest
Edith says:
13 June 2014

Like you, I also have a firstdirectory option on my accoun but now it costs £15 per month. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that you can withdraw cash from an ATM for free while abroad. I have just returned from Germany to the shock on my bank statement. I phoned first direct bank to find out what was happening.
Yes first direct do not charge for withdrawing cash abroad. The bad news is that the visa card that is the first direct debit card charges a transaction fee currently at about 2.57%. This works out at slightly more than £5 for £200 withdrawn abroad.
Needless to say it makes the firstdirectory option look less attractive and I am now most certainly looking around for something better.
What I would like to know is what this transaction charge is actually for or is it just another rip off!

Guest
Ann Maureen Fearon says:
23 February 2012

After reading your article on unfair card charges I agree that this practice is unacceptable. We have travelled on holidays with Saga for many years and last year we took their “World in One Country” holiday, the basic price being £5,500. At that time we were told that if we pay by credit card, due to “CHARGES IMPOSED ON US”, they would have to add a transaction fee of 1% if we paid with with a Saga Credit card and 2.5% for all other credit cards. This year I see in their brochures that payments paid by credit card are subject to a transaction fee of 2.5% (or 1% if paid by Saga PLATINUM card.) I wonder why the difference in card usage!!!? The thought did cross my mind to walk into their office and pay for the holiday in cash! They even charge £3 for a payment by cheque. In the end we used a debit card. If my calculations are correct, had we paid by a credit card other than a Saga one, we could have ended up paying an extra £137.50, which is quite a lot extra to us as retired folk on a fixed income. Totally unacceptable, and this year I cannot yet bring myself to book one of their holidays despite being inundated every few days with their brochues.

Profile photo of Bill S
Guest

I use a no conversion fee credit card that also gives cashback for my purchases abroad.
You still need cash though and it is more difficult to get no conversion fees, no withdrawal charges and also the current conversion rate (forexrate).
Citi provide two very useful accounts – one Euro, the other Dollar – no fees, good conversion rates, cheque book in Dollars and plenty of free ATM use:
http://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/banking/international/eurocurrent.htm?merchant=citi

Profile photo of saibal
Guest

I recently had an extremely unpleasant surprise when I visited India on my annual winter trip there. I already had an ICICI bank account at the East Ham (London) branch, one of the main reasons being that they promised there were absolutely no charges for withdrawing cash at cashpoints in India. However, when I made a cash withdrawal on at least 2 occasions I noticed that the exchange rate I calculated from that day’s balance available in rupees (I already knew exactly how much I had in pounds in the account) was significantly different from the rate that I calculated from the value of the cash withdrawal at the same instant. The local cashpoints did not make any references to any fees, either on screen ( as in the UK) or on any of the extensive notices available in the booth.

I used to draw foreign cash through my Nationwide flex card up until they introduced loading fees (3%) plus a withdrawal charge of £1 per transaction in the summer of 2009. However, when I checked the exchange rates that Nationwide were offering me AFTER the fees quoted upfront, I discovered that ICICI was giving a marginally LOWER exchange than this, despite claiming no charges! It transpired that their hidden charges, in the margin they kept on the exchange rate, amounted to around 5%!

If I thought that was bad, there was more horror in store. During this trip, I opened a local ICICI account in the Calcutta branch. The bankers were falling over themselves to get my custom, fawning in a most obsequious (and to my western sensibilities, most unacceptable) way, which was only to be expected as NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) are treated just next to God in India, for the power, wealth and prestige we are perceived to bring. They pretty much opened my account in the comfort of my home there, giving me all the paperwork, including online details, debit card and PIN, and an additional card for my mum who lives there. (They even lied to me point blank in their desperation to get me to open a fixed deposit account while I was there–I resisted this determinedly, and not unwisely–but that is another story!) Not once did they state that there would be a charge for any of this. More importantly, neither did their website–on the contrary, it stated categorically that there were no charges for ATM transactions. This made sense, after all, it was labelled an international debit card and foreigners would be using it abroad. I deposited a cheque drawn on my London ICICI bank, which took a while to clear, by which time I was back home in London. On checking the balance at my local Sainsbury’s Bank cashpoint I was puzzled to notice that the amount on the slip–although it confirmed that the cheque had cleared–was quite different to that which came out on the printout slip seconds afterwards. To be sure my eyes were not deceiving me, I checked it 4 times in a row, and each time the discrepancy was obvious. Now I’m aware that exchange rates fluctuate, but surely not by so much in the course of barely a second or two!

Imagine my shock, when I came home, decided to check my balance online, and discovered that I had been charged 28 rupees (about 40 pence) on each of the 4 occasions I had checked the balance! I immediately shot off an email of complaint to Calcutta. Customer services in India is the pits, and this proved no exception, After much unnecessary and most annoying waffle, they quoted me their so-called charges, of 28 rupees for balance checking and 118 rupees (about £1.50) per cash withdrawal transaction! This seemed quite arbitrary, as there was absolutely no evidence either in their own literature, or in my numerous personal dealings with them, that such charges existed.

There’s more. I then discovered through a friend that there was a 300 rupee annual fee (about £5) levied on the debit card as well as the supplementary card, and every cash transaction–even in India–cost 150 rupees ( about £2.50)!!!

Now I’m wise to their double-dealings and sneaky hidden charges, I shall no longer be doing any business with this monstrously unjustifiable excuse for a bank. The lack of transparency and the way they intentionally mislead customers in order to get their commission is absolutely staggering, and actually makes UK banks look like Mother Teresa.

Moral of the story–when banks have the audacity to treat their customers so cynically, charging merely for for the privilege of looking to see how much money we have, and for drawing on our own savings, something is very wrong indeed, and it is time to vote with our feet. Let us go where we are not held in such contempt.

Profile photo of saibal
Guest

Regarding my earlier comments above, in the 3rd paragraph, I meant the discrepancy between the screen balance and that on the slip–sorry for any confusion!

Guest
Edward Crooks says:
30 April 2012

I have my current account with Nationwide. They are barred from selling foreign currency because of the rules about what building societies can and can’t do. However, they claim that they can charge me for withdrawing cash from cash machines while abroad. It seems I can purchase something using my debit card without charge but if I take money from my account I incur a charge.

Can you help me sort this out please?

The actual exchange between myself and NW is to be found below, if you wish to read it. (To reduce the length of this exchange I have removed the standard text about what to do next if I am still not happy with the situation)

Thank you,

Edward Crooks

Subject:Re: 1 – Application queries – FlexAccount – None of the above <>
Date: 01/02/12 10:24
Unique Tracking Number:5473786

Log Reference Number 2235531

Dear Mr Crooks,

Thank you for your message.
I am sorry to learn that you remain unhappy with my previous response and thank you for giving me another opportunity to review your concerns.

Firstly, please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding to your complaint.

Nationwide do not offer a Bureau de Change service for foreign currency in our branches. Previously customers were able to order foreign currency with us through a third party but this was only for conversion from sterling.

Overseas charges came into affect as of 1 November 2010, we notified all customers prior to this policy change in August 2010.

If you carry out a transaction using your card in a currency other than sterling, it will be converted to sterling on the day the transaction is processed by our card scheme providers at a wholesale rate of exchange, which may vary daily. For an indication of that exchange rate, you can see the Visa wholesale rate of exchange at http://www.visaeurope.com/fxcalculator. This is an “indication” because transactions are processed when the retailer passes them on to the scheme provider, which is generally not on the same day the transaction took place.

There is a commission charge and a cash withdrawal charge for transactions in currencies other than sterling. You will be charged the charges shown in the table below (No table was included) when you use your card for transactions in currencies other than sterling. These include all charges that we have to pay to other organisations on your behalf.

We take both the commission charge and the non-UK cash withdrawal charge from your account on the day the transaction is shown on your account. This may not be the same day you carried out the transaction.

We incur additional fees for cash withdrawals abroad. The cash withdrawal fee covers the charges that we incur on your behalf.

The charges are legal and inline with our FlexAccount terms and conditions. I regret to inform you I am unable to issue a refund of the charges incurred.

In December 2011, within the news there was information surrounding an Office of Fair Trading investigation. It affects some banks- Lloyds, Barclays, RBS, Santander and the Co-op.

The news is about how foreign charges are made to accounts and how they show on statements.

Nationwide already follows the “best practice” that the Office of Fair Trading have suggested. The move comes after pressure from the Office of Fair Trading. Banks and credit card companies have agreed to scrap some charges they levy on holiday makers buying foreign currency. Five companies – Lloyds, Barclays, RBS, Santander and the Co-op – impose charges of between 1.5 and 2% if customers use their debit cards before leaving the UK to buy foreign currency.

They have agreed to scrap this charge. Consumer Focus estimates that this will save consumers £20m a year. Nationwide, HSBC, First Direct and Halifax Bank of Scotland do not charge such a fee.

Banks and card companies will also show separately on statements those charges which are incurred overseas, including the typical “loading fee” of nearly 3%, rather than hiding them in the cost of the items travellers have bought.

Lloyds Banking Group, including HBOS, HSBC, Co-op, Capital One, RBS and NatWest – for credit card statements, and American Express have agreed to implement this change by the end of 2013.

Nationwide, Barclays, Santander, RBS and NatWest – for debit cards only – already provide this information.



Kind Regards

Kimberley Watts
Senior Customer Consultant

http://www.nationwide.co.uk

— Original Message —
From:
Received: 10/01/12 16:46:46 o’clock GMT
To:
Subject: Re: 1 – Application queries – FlexAccount – None of the above

Thank you for your response. However, you have done nothing more than re-hash previous replies without answering my main points.

I am not going to repeat what I wrote earlier, but I will keep pressing for a proper answer on the legality of your charges for this service.

Will continue to hear from me until you respond properly.

Edward Crooks
——————— Original Message ———————
Unique Tracking Number: 5473786

Log Reference Number 2235531

Dear Mr Crooks,
Thank you for your message.

You may remember we replied to you on 21 December 2011 promising to look into the difficulties you experienced with overseas commission charges. I am sorry you have had to raise these concerns and thank you for giving me the opportunity to investigate these for you.

Firstly, please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding to your complaint.

We made every effort to communicate the changes with our customers including a press release, changes to our website and individual letters sent in August to all of our FlexAccount customers. To confirm, as of 1 November 2010 all foreign transactions incur a 2% commission charge and cash withdrawals incur a 2% commission charge plus a £1.00 withdrawal fee.

Although there is a charge being passed on to customers for purchases and withdrawals on any transaction other than sterling, Nationwide still pay a fee for each transaction and withdrawal. Nationwide are charged 2.75% per transaction and pass 2% on to the customer, we still pay 0.75% each occasion.

Whilst I sympathise with your position, I regret that I am unable to offer you a refund for any commission charges incurred as a result of this policy change, in line with our terms and conditions.

Kind Regards

Kimberley Watts
Senior Customer Consultant

http://www.nationwide.co.uk

— Original Message —
From:
Received: 15/12/11 19:39:12 o’clock GMT
To:
Subject: Re: 1 – Application queries – FlexAccount – None of the above

Dear Shellon Islip,

Thank you for your response.

However, the equitable argument is not valid. Each individual member of the NWBS has their own needs, which change over time.
If you cannot DEAL in currency transaction, you surely cannot charge for currency transaction – that must at least be unethical, at most, illegal.

My comment on you suffering no more cost for withdrawals at home and abroad still stands.

The comment you use to justify your charges that you are cheaper than your competitors confirms my suspicion that you are jumping on the band-waggon.

It is unfortunate that you cannot see that this action is not what a NWBS member would expect from a mutual organisation.

Please let me have my money back – and stop doing it!

Edward Crooks

——————— Original Message ———————
Unique Tracking Number: 5473786

Dear Mr Crooks,
Thank you for your message.
I am sorry you are not happy with the non UK commission charges incurred on your account while making transactions and cash withdrawals abroad. We do appreciate your loyalty to Nationwide and are constantly striving to find the best possible ways to deliver real value to our members. Commission free card use abroad has been a long standing benefit of Nationwide’s FlexAccount but, even though it has been available for more than ten years, only around a third of our current account holders have used it each year. Over time we have found it has provided a huge benefit to a tiny minority of our current account members, such as regular business travellers. At the same time it has benefited others by only a modest amount and it has not benefited the majority of our current account members at all. It is simply not an equitable way to share member value. However, the majority can benefit from free travel insurance if they make FlexAccount their main account and the value they would receive will be shared more equitably.

We have a responsibility to manage the business in the most prudent and sustainable way for our membership as a whole and a key part of our corporate strategy is to encourage more members to use their FlexAccount as their main current account. We believe the free multi-trip travel insurance is more likely to encourage people to use their FlexAccount as their main account, particularly as it covers holidays booked in the UK as well as in the rest of Europe.

The introduction of 2% commission for debit card use abroad and the £1 cash withdrawal fee also have to be seen in the context of the charges made by our competitors. Nationwide’s charges are still lower than those made by the majority of our high street competitors.

I do understand your concerns and I acknowledge that you are not alone in really appreciating the previous arrangements. I have tried to give you the fullest possible explanation of the rationale behind the changes. We did not take this step lightly, but we have to put in place benefits that are more equitable, prudent and sustainable.
If you have any further queries, please reply to this message.
Regards,

Shellon Islip
Customer Consultant
Internet Services

— Original Message —
From:
Received: 15/12/11 14:13:10 o’clock GMT
To:
Subject: Re: 1 – Application queries – FlexAccount – None of the above

Thank you for your reply.

If you can’t handle foreign money how can you justify charging me a non-UK commission fee or interest on cash taken from my account while I am out of the country. Yes, I know it is one of your new rules, but it is based on something Nationwide BS cannot do! For years I have been taking money from my account while abroad. It costs you no more than it does when I to take money from my account while I am in the UK, so why make any kind of charge. I think you have seen other banks rip-off their customers when engaging in these transactions and decided there was something here for you. Sad, sad, sad!

Please let me have my money back – and stop doing it!

Edward Crooks

——————— Original Message ———————
Unique Tracking Number: 5473786

Dear Mr Crooks,
Thank you for your message.
I apologise we do not currently offer the facility to exchange money as we are a UK only based Building Society so do not handle foreign currency.
I would like to thank you for contacting us. If you need anything else please reply to this message.
Kind Regards,
Heidi Brown-Brickell
Customer Consultant
http://www.nationwide.co.uk
Nationwide

— Original Message —
From:
Received: 14/12/11 11:30:53 o’clock GMT
To:
Subject: 1 – Application queries – FlexAccount – None of the above

I withdrew more EUROs than I needed while I was in Berlin recently. Can I call in to my local branch to change them for GBP?

Guest
MoWanderlust says:
4 December 2012

Use a Sainsbury Gold Card. Granted it is £5 a month but pays for it self if you go away twice a year. No fees whatsoever on cash withdrawals or card purchases home and abroad. You also get free travel insurance and a few other benefits but me the cash withdrawal benefit is more than enough. No need to carry travellers cheques or cash. Arrive at destination airport find a cash machine and away you go.

Guest
Michael Grazebrook says:
31 December 2014

That sounds too good to be true. Next time you use your card abroad, could you check the exchange rate on Reuters – this represents the market exchange rate with a small time delay?

http://uk.reuters.com/business/currencies

Then check what YOU paid and report back to us!

I expect your experience will be like Saibal De’s report (above) where he was charged no explicit fees – just an invisible 5%! But if your card truly gives you the fair market exchange rate, that would be very useful indeed.

Guest
keith says:
15 March 2013

Got a surprise with my LLOYDS TSB Premier Duo Avios Card the other day when after booking a hotel in New York was charged nearly 3% Transaction Fee .Phoned to complain and was told we have always charged it but until October last year we used to hide it in the charge so you did not know !!!.They could not tell me where the charge is covered in the TERMS .After 25 years will be leaving LLoyds and finding an honest bank and incidentally using my other cards which do not make such a charge .Will also be posting comments about LLoyds practices for the next 25 years god willing !

Guest
Neil Davies says:
8 August 2013

I just checked my LloydsTSb online statement and discovered £114.15 in ‘Non-Stg Trans Fee’. If I receive the same reply as you then I will also be leaving them. Been with them since Sep 1978!

Guest
keith says:
12 August 2013

i have just discovered the same NON-STG TRANS FEE of 12.88 which was totallly unexpected. i also was charged NON-STG CASH FEE 4.50 which i accept as normal.So as member of HM Forces stationed overseas it is going to cost me nearly 20 everytime i take cash out a machine. Plus the 17 i pay for the so called privelage of having a platinum account. to think i will be leaving after 23 years with Lloyds.

Phoned to complain and was told we have always charged it but until October last year we used to hide it in the charge so you did not know !!!. IS THIS NOT CLASSED AS FRAUD OR OBTAINING BY DECEPTION?

Guest

I am also one of the victims of Lloyds Non-Stg Trans Fee scams to the sum of £180 after our recent trip to Florida. Like other Lloyds customers I was never aware of the charges before and having 3 holidays abroad a year and a husband who works abroad the cost to use our debit cards now are too high.We are now in the process of handing our complaint over to the Financial Ombudsman Service to investigate the legality of ‘hiding’ it for years! I would strongly urge all disgruntled card users to take action against these banks . Maybe if enough people object something may be done to allow us to spend our hard earned cash without them taking a cut!!!

Profile photo of Kai
Guest

In my experience, Capital One credit card used to bury the 3 percent foreign charge inside the total transaction amount in previous years. Starting from 2012 onwards, they have split out the basic transaction amount, and the transaction charges separately on the statement, so all gets revealed.
Funnily enough, after the charges, I found myself slightly better off in the end, as Capital One’s exchange rate was consistently better than what I could find on the high street in Hong Kong!!

Guest

Just discovered non STG cash fee on my LLoyds account, not only are they dumping me after 40 odd years to TSB but to draw 200.00 costs over 7.00. I live abroad and the only way to access my cash is via cashpoint withdrawal. Have no choice but to keep a UK account as pension co will not pay into a foreign acct.

To change to another bank would involve me being able to present myself in the UK which is not possible for me.

Result means that the greedy bank does not care about it’s customers at all.

Guest

We are in the same position (along with nearly one million other pensioners) living abroad and being charged for using our own money. We accepted the £1.00 charge per transaction but this is, in effect, a 3% plus tax on pensions! It seems that the management of Lloyds has run a perfectly good bank into the ground through it own greed and incompetence and is now fleecing the customer to fill the coffers again. Any decent government would put a stop to this.

Guest
Good news: Peer to peer services are much cheaper says:
19 September 2013

I use Currency Fair to cut exchange charges, nearly 10 times cheaper.

The charges banks make for cash withdrawals from ATMs are outrageous. At least they are visible now, a few years ago they’d take their 3% as part of the exchange rate so you wouldn’t know you were being fleeced. And then there’s the £1.50 on top of it!

While I was working in Munich, I used Currency Fair for transferring money between GBP and my German EUR account. This is a peer-to-peer service, i.e. it matches customers, taking a 0.15% commission + 3 EUR to transfer money out. I was very pleased with their service.

Transferring £1k via Currency Fair compared to 4 cash machine withdrawals is nearly 13% of the bank costs.

Guest

The same thing that you Lloyds customers are experience just start to happen now on HSBC. I went to check my account online and got surprise when I saw the NON-STG Transaction Fee for the first time. Call them and got the same reply you guys got from HSBC that this was always charged but hide on transaction. Funny that when I use the value in Dollars and did the conversion they have on the day of transaction to see if the Hide Fee was there like they told me. I just got the normal value.

I have a business account with HSBC and have been doing international transactions since I opened my account with them, some of charges are all the same on my card like ads so I can see that such charges were never charge before since most of the time the exchange was almost the same.

Anyways, just want to point out that not only Lloyds but also HSBC seem they don’t care about long time accounts or even what they customers say. Worst enough when you tell this to their phone agents they keep repeating the same thing like you are the stupid one!

Guest
Matt says:
7 March 2014

I’ve just noticed it on my HSBC account. I don’t recall being told about this and it amounts to around 3% on every singe transaction. I even have a fee currency account which I believed would mean these charges would not apply given I am paying for my banking services, it seems not.

Guest

it is legal for banks to rob people. I am losing 1000s of pounds on exchange and cannot complain. we are not humans for them. we must them and shut up

Guest
Peter says:
17 June 2015

You guys are getting screwed! 3% is outrageous! In Sweden the FX fee is maximum 1.5% and several charge 0%,

Guest
SueM says:
3 August 2015

is it different if you are going abroad to study rather than a holiday? my son is off to France for 6 months and then Russia for 6 months – he currently has a UK current account with Santander – should he get something else?

Guest
Pat says:
15 June 2016

I wonder if anyone has any advice they can offer to me.

We are going to spend 6 months each year over the winter months in Southern Spain.

Our bank account is with HSBC but it seems they charge hefty fees for purchases and cash withdrawals from ATM’s

As we have a good deal with them on recovery, legal advice etc we are reluctant to move from them.

Would it be better to obtain a Euro card that we top up for purchase and cash withdrawals?

I am so confused with all this.

Grateful for any assistance with this.

Many thanks

Pat

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Guest

I would imagine that if your are spending six months in Spain then a Spanish account would make the best sense and get the finest rate from an on-line currency dealer to stock at the beginning of each holiday. I would not wish to be reliant totally on a card[s].

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Guest

Pat – from a useful site:

Here’s how much spending €1,000 actually cost, in pounds, when we made comparisons on 14 June 2016 using our Travel Money Comparison tool (we assumed five €100 cash withdrawals and 20 transactions on the cards).
On a specialist credit card repaid in full: £796 (see cheapest credit cards)
Cash, via UK’s cheapest bureau (pick up in London): £800
Cash from the M&S (non-cardholder): £815
Using a debit card from hell: £849 (see debit cards from hell)
Change at airport (Heathrow T1 Travelex, not pre-ordered): £905
As you can see, paying the wrong way could cost you over £100 more than paying the cheapest way. But the winner is simple: apply for a specialist overseas credit card, then use it every time you go.

Guest
pat999gus says:
15 June 2016

Thank you diesel tailor for you reply.

Would you know if we can open a Spanish bank with us being UK residents? We will be spending the 6 months on a caravan site in our van. If we can open one do you happen to know which is the best to use? Thanks once again. Pat

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Guest

Looking at the Web there are some sites who know far more than me. This is one of them : )
justlanded.com/english/Spain/Spain-Guide/Money/How-to-open-a-Spanish-bank-account

My only though is if you are on a static site it may be feasible but if mobile then possibly it will be awkward. However given the time you are there you may find other people who can help.

Having said that if you read up before you go, and take the right documents, have a loaded currency card [or two], you may be better informed than most and able to open an account if it seems right.

Have a nice time. I tend to get no further than France when on the Continent.

Guest
pat999gus says:
15 June 2016

Thank you once again. I need to get my reading head on.

Hope you have a wonderful summer.

Pat

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Guest

Serendipity is a wonderful thing!:
techworld.com/apps/travelex-muscles-in-on-fintech-market-with-launch-of-its-supercard-3641848/

I have used them in the past and this looks a very good idea.

Guest
ILLSLEYBRIT says:
22 June 2016

I also have an issue with fees on cash withdrawals from my Bank account in England, which I have had since the 1970s… I am now at the age where I am able to withdraw my pension and wondered if anyone has had any experience using one of these companies who transfer a requested amount of pounds to my account here in America but, not using the two Bank’s I have and their fees?…
I have read up on companies like TransferWise.. 1st Contact..OFX..USForex and XETrade. and they sound great.. For Instance, the transfer of around £1000 would give me $1,461:49 at todays exchange rate but only cost me £4:98..
It seems you sign up, transfer the required amount you want in to their account in London and then they use their existing Bank in America (or anywhere they have a Bank in the world) and after about three days, pop the money in to your existing Bank Account here in America where I live. In other words, they use their own money in that particular country (America)..
The money I transfer from my Bank in England actually stays there and visa versa… I realise you don’t get the money instantly, they say three to five days and I believe you can even sign up for having the money plopped in to the Bank account when the exchange rate is really good but I believe that is an option.
It all sounded very complicated at first, until I actually read what these new kind of Banks do.
Is it as easy as it sounds??
Any help or suggestions for getting the best out of my British Pension would be appreciated….. Thanks and good luck to you all 🙂

Guest
ILLSLEYBRIT says:
22 June 2016

I believe the accounts are called Peer-To-Peer 🙂

Guest
Danny N says:
21 July 2016

I am studying in the UK but am from the US and was getting absolutely killed with transaction and service fees from ATMs. I did some research and found an app called Circle Pay that lets me send money to friends, family, or anyone for that matter, and all I need is their phone number or email. This app lets you send dollars to pounds (and vice versa) and helped me to avoid a lot of fees. It is worth checking out if you are looking to avoid bank fees.