Credit card warning for 2m holidaymakers this Easter

26 Mar, 2024

TotallyMoney has calculated the cost of using some of the most popular credit cards to withdraw cash when travelling, and warns the 2 million UK holidaymakers heading abroad this Easter to use the right card:

  • Some providers will charge a huge £4.59 in fees on £20 withdrawal. In real terms, this represents a 22.95% charge
  • For larger transactions, the representative charge decreases, but can still add a huge £7.99 on a £100 equivalent cash withdrawal
  • Two million people plan to go away this Easter†, and more than half of Brits are setting their sights on jetting off later this year, with the average person spending £227 per week abroad
  • There are alternative options available, which offer customers free withdrawals abroad

Below, TotallyMoney calculates the cost of credit card cash withdrawal fees and provides three top travel money tips, with supporting insights from independent personal finance expert, Andrew Hagger.

Provider Cash withdrawal fee Non sterling fee Cost £100 of currency withdrawal
Virgin Money 5% (no min) 2.99% £7.99
Fluid 5% (min £4) 2.95% £7.95
Aqua 5% (min £4) 2.95% £7.95
MBNA 5% (no min) 2.95% £7.95
Lloyds Bank 5% (no min) 2.95% £7.95
Tesco Bank 3.99% (min £3) 2.75% £6.74
Vanquis 3% (min £3) 2.99% £5.99
M&S Bank 2.99% (min £3) 2.99% £5.99
HSBC 2.99% (min £3) 2.99% £5.99
TSB 3% (min £3) 2.95% £5.95
NatWest 3% (min £3) 2.75% £5.75

TotallyMoney’s travel money trifecta

TotallyMoney CEO, Alastair Douglas shares three top tips for making your travel money go further:

  1. Pack the right card
    “Before you go away, double check how much your bank will charge you for using your card abroad. If you’re lucky, you might already have a fee-free option in your wallet — so make sure you stick to using that one. If not, and you’re planning on using credit, then consider applying for a Halifax Clarity or Barclaycard Rewards card —specifically for overseas use. Both offer fee-free purchase and cash withdrawal transactions abroad. Alternatively, current accounts with Chase, Starling and Monzo will all let you withdraw cash for free when abroad.”

  2. Go large
    “If you need to use your credit card for ATM withdrawals abroad, avoid using it for multiple, low value cash transactions — and instead consider taking out fewer but larger amounts. That way, you can avoid lots of withdrawal fees, which quickly adds up. Let’s say you take out £200 in one go, to cover you for four days, you might incur up to £15.98 in charges. On the other hand, if you take out £50 per day over the four day long weekend, you could end up paying the bank £31.96 — which is twice as much!”
  3. Shop local
    “Whenever you’re paying by card, or withdrawing cash, and you’re asked if you’d like to pay in the local currency, you should almost always pick the local currency. Choosing to pay in pounds sterling will lead to currency conversion fees set by the ATM operator or vendor — and worryingly, there’s no limit to how much they can charge.”

🦉 Andrew Hagger, Personal Finance Expert, and founder of Moneycomms adds:

“Although credit cards are useful in helping you manage your day to day cash flow and cope with unexpected expenses, using them to take cash out at ATMs overseas can be an extremely expensive way of funding your holiday spending.

“Consider a fee-free credit card or a low cost debit card as an alternative if you don’t want to see a big chunk of your overseas holiday budget swallowed up by cash withdrawal and non-sterling charges.”