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First Direct scraps overseas spending fees on its debit card

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn
Posted:
Updated:
27/11/2023

The HSBC subsidiary has scrapped all charges for overseas spending and cash withdrawals on its debit card just as Brits gear up for the summer holiday season.

The bank’s debit card is now fee-free abroad and offers near-perfect exchange rates, making it a top choice for your holiday cash.

First Direct removed the fees for both new and existing customers last week. Previously it charged a non-sterling transaction fee of 2.75% which applied to both purchases and cash withdrawals in foreign currencies.

On top of that, it also charged a non-sterling cash fee which was an additional 2% fee (minimum £1.75, maximum £5) on cash withdrawals and was charged in addition to the non-sterling transaction fee.

How much money can you save?

Before the change, using your First Direct to spend the equivalent to £100 in a shop would have cost you £102.75. But now the transaction would just cost £100.

Withdrawing £100 worth of euros from an ATM would have previously cost £104.75 – but now First Direct will just debit your account £100. However, many foreign ATMs apply their own charges for cash withdrawals so you’ll still have to pay these unless you can find a fee-free ATM.

MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis has described the exchange rates offered by the First Direct debit card as “near perfect”.

Should you switch to First Direct?

Scrapping overseas fees makes First Direct a good bet for switchers looking for a good deal on their holiday cash.

New customers can also get a £175 cash bonus for switching to First Direct, assuming they meet certain terms and conditions.

It’s worth noting that the changes do not affect First Direct credit cards – you’ll still pay non-sterling fees of 2.99% if you use your First Direct credit card abroad.