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Pick the right cards for holiday to save £100 in fees

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Many holidaymakers stick to their everyday cards to pay for goods and services abroad. But picking the right plastic can save you about £100 in charges in a fortnight.

Savvy consumers shop around for the cheapest flights and hotels when organising a holiday. But when it comes to spending money, all the good work can be undone by paying abroad with the credit or debit cards we use at home.

Research reveals holidaymakers could save about £5 for every £100 currency equivalent ATM withdrawal and around 3% on every purchase made on a specialist credit card that doesn’t charge for overseas use or cash withdrawal fees.

As a result, a typical family going on a two week summer holiday spending £2,250 through a combination of cash withdrawals and purchases could save themselves £99.37 picking the right debit card and £104.78 by choosing the right overseas credit card.

Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms revealed the Metro Bank’s European charge-free card tops the debit card best buy tables, while it also sits firmly in joint first place in the credit card tables along with the Halifax Clarity card and the Creation Everyday credit card. However, the Metro Bank offering is only available to those who hold its current account.

Some of the worst and most expensive debit cards for overseas use are offered by the Halifax, TSB and Lloyds. On the credit card side, Hagger’s research found the Creation Purchase credit card and Virgin Money All Round credit card both charge 2.99% on purchases and cash withdrawals, plus a 5% ATM fee (minimum £5).

Based on a family two week summer holiday, you could end up paying nearly £105 on cash withdrawals and purchases by using the wrong plastic.

The tables below list the best and worst debit and credit cards for overseas use (click to enlarge):

DebitCardOverseas OverseasCreditCard

Hagger said it’s surprising how much the wrong plastic can end up costing you when you use it outside the UK.

“If you’re not sure what your bank charges then take a look before you travel as it may be worth picking up a currency card instead – it could prove a very cost-effective choice as it will eat up less of your precious holiday spending cash in charges.

“The only issue with currency cards is that they are very difficult for the consumer to compare due to various different tariffs and confusing jargon – also watch out for some currency cards as if you bring them home with a balance still on and don’t use them for 12 months, many will charge you a £2 per month inactivity fee until you use it again so you could get a nasty surprise if it’s not been used for a couple of years, for example,” he said.