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Brits could be more card savvy

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12/03/2008

Over four million Brits having a European break these Easter school holidays could find themselves collectively out of pocket by over £180m by not using the best credit or debit card.

With an average spend of over £500 each while on holiday, unsuspecting Brits will be hammered with foreign exchange fees and hefty transaction charges.

Steve Willey, head of credit cards at moneysupermarket.com, said: “A credit card with purchase protection of 90 or more days is the best option for purchases overseas. Not only do the credit cards from the Post Office, Nationwide and Saga offer this, but they also have 0% purchase offers of between three and six months and don’t levy foreign exchange fees in Europe. This is a far better prospect than their rivals that charge between 2.73 and 3%.

“The Nationwide Flex debit card is the best product for overseas cash withdrawals as there are no extra charges. In contrast, a €100 withdrawal with a Lloyds TSB debit card will incur a £2 transaction charge plus a 2.99% foreign exchange fee.

“If you are stuck with an uncompetitive debit or credit card and don’t have time to get a new one, the Caxton FX prepaid card is a good option. And if you are worried about overspending, prepaid cards will only allow you to spend what is on the card.

“The worst-case scenario of using travellers cheques or foreign currency from Thomas Cook would see the average Brit £45 worse off than those relying on Nationwide credit and debit cards. People loyal to Thomas Cook would be better off using its credit card for purchases as it doesn’t impose foreign exchange fees.”

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