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RBS and NatWest foreign exchange fees cause confusion

Written by: Emma Lunn
Several RBS and NatWest current account customers report being charged foreign transaction fees when using their debit card in the UK.

Most RBS and NatWest debit card customers are charged a 2.75 per cent foreign purchase fee on transactions made in a foreign currency or purchases made outside the UK.

But some account holders have reported being landed with the fees when buying products from Apple UK’s online store. has been contacted by three NatWest and RBS customers, who say they were charged foreign transaction fees for Apple purchases made in Sterling.

There have been previously also been cases where foreign purchase fees have been charged by NatWest or RBS at UK airports or for in-flight purchases made in pounds.

Despite being quizzed by Money Saving Expert, it’s not clear why the foreign transaction fees have been incorrectly applied. However, the RBS group (which includes NatWest), has confirmed that customers shouldn’t be charged any foreign purchase fees when buying from Apple UK.

Money Saving Expert quoted the case of Matthew Dodd, from Cambridge, who was charged a foreign purchase fee after using his NatWest debit card to make a purchase in Sterling from the Apple UK online store. The fee was eventually refunded as a “goodwill gesture”.

Check your bank statement

RBS and NatWest customers, especially those who’ve shopped at Apple UK’s online store, should check their bank statements for any foreign transaction fees levied on purchases made in the UK.

RBS says it’s fixing the problem, and will be “actively identifying” customers who have been overcharged.

If you have been charged incorrectly, you should contact RBS or NatWest to complain about the charges and ask to be reimbursed.

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