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Hi


I know this has been discussed ad nausium on the forum but bank services seem to change constantly. Until this week when travelling Europe we have used my wife’s HSBC Advance account, this had no charges when paying by debit card or drawing cash abroad. This last week or so everything seems to have changed.


The charges are ridiculous.


How do others manage?


Steve.

Steve (BroGoat)

travel blog - www. adventure-before-dementia. co. uk

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i am in Spain currently - not sure of exact figures but when i use my debit card to take 180/200 euros in cash from the hole in the wall its costs me someting around 3 - 3. 50 sterling. as i use my credit card most of the time, and the exchange rate seems competitive, i don't get cash out that often so i don't think its worth bothering about in the grand scheme of my time away.

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Hi

 

I know this has been discussed ad nausium on the forum but bank services seem to change constantly. Until this week when travelling Europe we have used my wife’s HSBC Advance account, this had no charges when paying by debit card or drawing cash abroad. This last week or so everything seems to have changed.

 

The charges are ridiculous.

 

How do others manage?

 

Steve.

CASH Edited by mellyboy
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I never use my debit card when abroad. Bank charges far too excessive.

 

I use a 0% interest credit card (saga) for purchases. ..and cash (taken with me) when/if the card isn't accepted. Unused cash retained for next trip.

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There are at least THREE fee free debit cards available - N&P, Metro Bank and the Cumberland BS.

 

Also get a fee free credit card - there are various ones.

 

As far as I am aware, HSBC has never been fee free.

 

If you get bored and want to read how rates compared when i "tested" three cards, its here.

 

Avoid bank charges - a few hundred spend could cost about £12 pounds or more.

 

Russell

Online blog and travels, although sometimes there is a lack of travel due to work!

 

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Like Russell, we use an N & P Debit card, which has fee free/no conversion charges for cash withdrawals from ATM's in Europe. We use the cash for only 'small spending' such as market purchases, coffees, and buying bread, etc. We then use either a Nationwide Gold Credit Card or a Halifax Clarity Credit Card for larger purchases, fuel, campsite fees, supermarket shopping and paying bills in restaurants. We pay the bill off in full before any charges apply - on-line if we are away for any length of time.

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When Nationwide started to charge extra fees for cash withdrawals I got myself a Halifax Clarity credit card. I use it to withdraw cash from ATM's at an excellent rate and there are no banking charges. The only thing to watch are interest charges which start from the moment of withdrawal but even if you leave it to the statement date before paying I have found even those to be quite modest. What I usually do is to transfer the amount I have withdrawn from my UK bank account into the credit card account within days. Last time I did that I paid . 09p in interest!!!

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

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When Nationwide started to charge extra fees for cash withdrawals I got myself a Halifax Clarity credit card. I use it to withdraw cash from ATM's at an excellent rate and there are no banking charges. The only thing to watch are interest charges which start from the moment of withdrawal but even if you leave it to the statement date before paying I have found even those to be quite modest. What I usually do is to transfer the amount I have withdrawn from my UK bank account into the credit card account within days. Last time I did that I paid . 09p in interest!!!

 

David

 

We do exactly the same for cash from the hole in the wall. .... but most of our expenditure is done on the Nationwide Select Credit Card. ... in a 6 week stay in France last year I think I paid only £0. 23p in interest, no other fees, on the Halifax Clarity Card. . and that was because I forgot about 1 withdrawal and didn't transfer the funds immediately!!

 

HTH

 

G.

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Hi
I know this has been discussed ad nausium on the forum but bank services seem to change constantly. Until this week when travelling Europe we have used my wife’s HSBC Advance account, this had no charges when paying by debit card or drawing cash abroad. This last week or so everything seems to have changed.
The charges are ridiculous.
How do others manage?
Steve.

 

Hello there,

We got stung a couple of years ago for £80-£90 when Tesco changed the conditions on their credit card while we were away in Spain and France.

After consulting Money Saving Expert, [ it is all described in detail ], we now use Nationwide Select Credit Card and a pre-loaded Travex card for cash. As a result we do not incur any extra charges at all. We normally go for at least 2 months so all Utility Bills and Credit Card accounts are settled by Direct debit.

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Brian.

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We use our Metro Bank debit card for transactions abroad. There are no charges for withdrawing funds from a foreign ATM and if used for purchasing anything else they use the Mastercard daily exchange rate.

 

We use this account alongside our Lloyds one. I like having this card as I don't have to bother getting Euros for Europe and if there are any funds left in the Metro account we can use it here in the UK.

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Whilst prepaid cards might be good, the actual 'rate' you get depends very much on the date you add the currency to the account. This may be a good rate, or a poor one, but it's usually less than the 'inter-bank' rate by a few cents each time. With both the Halifax Clarity, and the N & P Debit card you actually get the inter-bank rate. Obviously this depends on the dates when you're spending, and if the exchange rate is good, but we've had some very good rates even this year, with both cards.

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IIRC from reading something from HSBC recently they now separate the charge from the exchange rate for greater transparency. ???

Previously you paid via a poor exchange rate.

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IIRC from reading something from HSBC recently they now separate the charge from the exchange rate for greater transparency. ???

Previously you paid via a poor exchange rate.

 

Thanks for the all help. We crossed the channel on the 17th October and are not planning to return to UK until some time in April so taking sufficient cash for 6 or 7 months is a non starter, so have always drawn cash on a weekly basis and paid for diesel and site fees etc with an HSBC debit card.
Last week charges appeared on the account for all transactions, this week we had an e-mail from HSBC saying that to aid openness and understanding the charge for foreign transactions would be shown separately and not included into the transaction itself via the exchange rate.
Strange then that the exchange rate we are getting has not significantly altered.
We are not sure how easy it would be to get the various recommended cards/accounts from sunny Spain but we will do the research using the leads you all have kindly given and make sure we get the very best deal available next time
Thanks
Steve

Steve (BroGoat)

travel blog - www. adventure-before-dementia. co. uk

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A note to moderators: as the OP pointed out, this is a recurrent theme. Is it worth having a pinned item for the topic then people would have one place to go to find out?

Ian.
2013 Freelander 2 SD4 Auto / 2005 Bailey Pageant Vendée; 1952 Norton ES2

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Whilst prepaid cards might be good, the actual 'rate' you get depends very much on the date you add the currency to the account. This may be a good rate, or a poor one, but it's usually less than the 'inter-bank' rate by a few cents each time. With both the Halifax Clarity, and the N & P Debit card you actually get the inter-bank rate. Obviously this depends on the dates when you're spending, and if the exchange rate is good, but we've had some very good rates even this year, with both cards.

The thing is with a pre paid card, you can choose when to top up. with a normal debit card it's pot luck on the exchange rate at the moment you use the card.

I keep an eye on the exchange rate and put a few quid on the card when I think the rate is good. in this way I can have a useful amount in place when I need it

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Each to their own - we prefer to keep our money in our 'pocket' and spend at whatever the rate is whilst we're away. I can understand it being a huge concern if you're away for months and months, but in the course of a four week holiday we perhaps make three or four cash withdrawals for 'small' spending - and the rest of our spending goes on the fee free credit card which we pay off before any interest accrues. Even if we had to pay charges for the cash withdrawals I doubt it would amount to more than a few pounds.

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we have the Nationwidewide credit card which is fee free providing the balance is paid by direct debit each month but incurs interest from the date of withdrawal for cash Their debit card can be used for cash withdrawal but incurs a charge of 2% + £1

 

we also use the Saga credit card for purchases & cash withdrawal which does not charge interest if the balance is paid by direct debit,except for a 2% charge on cash withdrawals but they both use the inter bank exchange rate which is superior to the tourist rate used by pre paid cards

Edited by TD 42
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I use my nation wide credit card at home and build up the amount of commission free usage when I am away. I have built up £1890 commission free usage for our trip to Spain starting next Sunday. I use the Nationwide Debit Card for cash withdrawals.

 

 

 

 

Les

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