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  • FIRST POST
    • lukey105
    • By lukey105 4th Dec 17, 11:38 AM
    • 32Posts
    • 3Thanks
    lukey105
    !! Reccomendations please !!
    • #1
    • 4th Dec 17, 11:38 AM
    !! Reccomendations please !! 4th Dec 17 at 11:38 AM
    Hi guys,

    HSBC current account
    So I'm going to USA for xmas/new year
    Pretty sure it's a good idea to have a MasterCard/Visa credit for the trip just so that I have options/cover !!??

    Could anyone recommend a good credit card option?
    Flights are booked - car rental isn't - hotels neither (road tripping and booking as we go is the vibe !!)

    Something that I can just pay off instantly or at the end of the month - not looking for a credit facility at all - just want the security/flexibility that I can't get with my Visa debit

    Thanks all !!

    xxx
Page 1
    • bengalknights
    • By bengalknights 4th Dec 17, 11:40 AM
    • 4,178 Posts
    • 1,527 Thanks
    bengalknights
    • #2
    • 4th Dec 17, 11:40 AM
    • #2
    • 4th Dec 17, 11:40 AM
    You want ideally something like the halifax clarity card that has 0 travel related fees
    • dj1471
    • By dj1471 4th Dec 17, 8:43 PM
    • 960 Posts
    • 638 Thanks
    dj1471
    • #3
    • 4th Dec 17, 8:43 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Dec 17, 8:43 PM
    Have a read of the MSE Travel Credit Cards guide.
    • lisyloo
    • By lisyloo 5th Dec 17, 12:31 PM
    • 21,318 Posts
    • 10,242 Thanks
    lisyloo
    • #4
    • 5th Dec 17, 12:31 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Dec 17, 12:31 PM
    For cash I would recommend halifax clarity.
    0% commission so you get mastercard exchange rate.
    There will be ATM fees in US (about $3) from the ATM provider. This is nothing to do with Halifax and you'll need to pay this with ANY card as it's for the ATM facility. The only thing you can do to minimise is take out larger chunks of money (obviously within reason) as it's usually a fixed fee.

    Halifax charge interest straight away so you need to pay off instantly or you could simply accept a small interest charge which is still way cheaper than other methods.

    Be careful if mixing with purchases as payments MAY come off purchases first.

    You either need to pay it ALL off instantly, use a different card for purchases or become knowledgeable in the order in which payments are applied. I find the first the simplest.
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 5th Dec 17, 3:08 PM
    • 3,282 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Anthorn
    • #5
    • 5th Dec 17, 3:08 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Dec 17, 3:08 PM
    Hi guys,

    HSBC current account
    So I'm going to USA for xmas/new year
    Pretty sure it's a good idea to have a MasterCard/Visa credit for the trip just so that I have options/cover !!??

    Could anyone recommend a good credit card option?
    Flights are booked - car rental isn't - hotels neither (road tripping and booking as we go is the vibe !!)

    Something that I can just pay off instantly or at the end of the month - not looking for a credit facility at all - just want the security/flexibility that I can't get with my Visa debit

    Thanks all !!

    xxx
    Originally posted by lukey105
    I differ: Probably the daddy of them all for USA id Amex and you get basic buyer protection.

    An alternative could be the Starling Bank current account and debit card if you can get the overdraft. Currently no overdraft fees and 15% APR.

    Otherwise Clarity although if you can get that you can probably get the Starling Bank overdraft.
    • Mr Goodkat
    • By Mr Goodkat 5th Dec 17, 4:00 PM
    • 396 Posts
    • 235 Thanks
    Mr Goodkat
    • #6
    • 5th Dec 17, 4:00 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Dec 17, 4:00 PM
    I differ: Probably the daddy of them all for USA id Amex and you get basic buyer protection.

    An alternative could be the Starling Bank current account and debit card if you can get the overdraft. Currently no overdraft fees and 15% APR.

    Otherwise Clarity although if you can get that you can probably get the Starling Bank overdraft.
    Originally posted by Anthorn
    What about the non Sterling transaction fees charged by Amex?

    Also why use a Starling Bank overdraft when a number of cards will give interest free period on card transactions and no loading e.g. Halifax Clarity? Granted cash withdrawals attract interest but likely be cheaper to use a Clarity for both purchases and cash withdrawals than using a Starling Bank overdraft.
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 5th Dec 17, 6:33 PM
    • 3,282 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Anthorn
    • #7
    • 5th Dec 17, 6:33 PM
    • #7
    • 5th Dec 17, 6:33 PM
    What about the non Sterling transaction fees charged by Amex?

    Also why use a Starling Bank overdraft when a number of cards will give interest free period on card transactions and no loading e.g. Halifax Clarity? Granted cash withdrawals attract interest but likely be cheaper to use a Clarity for both purchases and cash withdrawals than using a Starling Bank overdraft.
    Originally posted by Mr Goodkat
    You can answer that for yourself just by looking at the APR which is 18.9% for Clarity and 15% for the Starling Bank overdraft. Generally, Clarity wins on foreign cash withdrawals and that's why it's often recommended for that purpose.

    I don't know what you mean by "no loading": Do you think that in order to use the Starling Bank overdraft we need to first load the account with the same amount afforded by the overdraft?

    Lastly the interest-free period on credit cards generally only applies if the balance is cleared over two months consecutively. Otherwise interest is charged from the date of the transaction. Practically for that purpose the only time we'll get interest free is with a 0% APR purchase card.
    • Mr Goodkat
    • By Mr Goodkat 5th Dec 17, 6:51 PM
    • 396 Posts
    • 235 Thanks
    Mr Goodkat
    • #8
    • 5th Dec 17, 6:51 PM
    • #8
    • 5th Dec 17, 6:51 PM
    You can answer that for yourself just by looking at the APR which is 18.9% for Clarity and 15% for the Starling Bank overdraft. Generally, Clarity wins on foreign cash withdrawals and that's why it's often recommended for that purpose.

    I don't know what you mean by "no loading": Do you think that in order to use the Starling Bank overdraft we need to first load the account with the same amount afforded by the overdraft?

    Lastly the interest-free period on credit cards generally only applies if the balance is cleared over two months consecutively. Otherwise interest is charged from the date of the transaction. Practically for that purpose the only time we'll get interest free is with a 0% APR purchase card.
    Originally posted by Anthorn
    You started by saying Amex was the daddy and I asked about the charges for non sterling transactions? How is Amex with those fees better than a Visa / MasterCard or even third party Amex that doesn't charge foreign exchange fees?

    Yes the APR is more on Clarity but if clearing in full only cash withdrawals would incur interest whereas using a Starling overdraft all transactions would attract interest so 15% on a 100% of Starling transactions is going to be more than the cash portion on the Clarity especially if card payment rather than cash is used wherever possible. You can even reduce potential charges on Clarity by making payments after withdrawing cash but in reality the cost if settling in full every month is minimal.

    By no loading I mean no foreign exchange charges so a travel credit card is cheaper than using the overdraft from Starling

    I have spent €2.5k on my MBNA Amex on flights and hotels in November, will be cleared by direct debit in January so costs me nothing in interest or foreign exchange fees whilst that money earns interest elsewhere. I did buy some RyanAir flights with my Amex but they were flights from the uk so in Sterling, double points and 2000 bonus points due to a spend £80+ and get 2000 points promotion but I digress.
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 5th Dec 17, 7:04 PM
    • 3,282 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Anthorn
    • #9
    • 5th Dec 17, 7:04 PM
    • #9
    • 5th Dec 17, 7:04 PM
    You started by saying Amex was the daddy and I asked about the charges for non sterling transactions? How is Amex with those fees better than a Visa / MasterCard or even third party Amex that doesn't charge foreign exchange fees?

    Yes the APR is more on Clarity but if clearing in full only cash withdrawals would incur interest whereas using a Starling overdraft all transactions would attract interest so 15% on a 100% of Starling transactions is going to be more than the cash portion on the Clarity especially if card payment rather than cash is used wherever possible. You can even reduce potential charges on Clarity by making payments after withdrawing cash but in reality the cost if settling in full every month is minimal.

    By no loading I mean no foreign exchange charges so a travel credit card is cheaper than using the overdraft from Starling

    I have spent €2.5k on my MBNA Amex on flights and hotels in November, will be cleared by direct debit in January so costs me nothing in interest or foreign exchange fees whilst that money earns interest elsewhere. I did buy some RyanAir flights with my Amex but they were flights from the uk so in Sterling, double points and 2000 bonus points due to a spend £80+ and get 2000 points promotion but I digress.
    Originally posted by Mr Goodkat
    Amex IS the daddy of them all in the U.S. Anyone who disagrees with that is probably living on a different planet, With regard to the rest I've already answered your queries. But how on earth do you calculate that 18.9% is cheaper than 15%?
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 5th Dec 17, 7:06 PM
    • 3,143 Posts
    • 4,176 Thanks
    Nick_C
    OP. You've left it very late! A credit card is absolutely essential for renting a car in the US. You really should have two, especially when touring. Hotels take high security deposits which can take a few days to be released. You can eat up your credit limit very quickly when touring.

    In the circumstances, I would say start with your own bank, as they are most likely to approve you and give you a decent credit limit.

    Mastercard and Visa are equally acceptable.

    Once one has been approved, then go for a second one with no Foreign loading fee.

    If you've got a couple of credit cards with decent limits, then you won't need much cash, so I wouldn't worry about the lowest cost of getting cash from an ATM. Just use your existing cash card.

    If the credit limits on the new card are low, monitor your spending on line and make additional payments to your CC accounts as and when necessary.

    And let the card issuers no about your travel plans to lessen the risk of cards being declined.

    Also be aware that when using credit cards in the US, you are often asked for photo ID as well
    Last edited by Nick_C; 05-12-2017 at 7:08 PM.
    • Fortyfoot
    • By Fortyfoot 5th Dec 17, 7:11 PM
    • 1,754 Posts
    • 894 Thanks
    Fortyfoot
    If you get a Clarity card pre load it, I do it all the time
    Fortyfoot
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 5th Dec 17, 7:13 PM
    • 3,143 Posts
    • 4,176 Thanks
    Nick_C
    Amex IS the daddy of them all in the U.S.
    Originally posted by Anthorn
    Amex is very widely accepted in the US, more so than in the UK, but I've never been anywhere that accepts Amex that does not also accept MC and Visa.

    The Lloyd's Avios Amex card comes with no forex loading fee, and gives you 2.5 Avios for every pound spent in the first six months. Very unusual to get loyalty benefits on overseas spending, and a great benefit for the Avios collectors. Well worth the £24 fee.
    • Mr Goodkat
    • By Mr Goodkat 5th Dec 17, 7:41 PM
    • 396 Posts
    • 235 Thanks
    Mr Goodkat
    Amex IS the daddy of them all in the U.S. Anyone who disagrees with that is probably living on a different planet, With regard to the rest I've already answered your queries. But how on earth do you calculate that 18.9% is cheaper than 15%?
    Originally posted by Anthorn
    If you Clear Clarity in full you only pay the interest on the cash you take out not ALL transactions so card purchases will not accrue interest whereas with a Starling overdraft ALL transactions will accrue interest whether purchases or cash withdrawals. If you minimise cash withdrawals and pay with card whenever possible a small amount of cash on a Clarity at 18.9% will cost less than ALL transactions at 15% on a Starling overdraft.

    How is Amex the daddy when it will charge non sterling transaction fees on every purchase and cash withdrawal? Wafting an American Express and paying fees is silly when a number of other credit cards will not charge foreign exchange fees!
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 5th Dec 17, 8:55 PM
    • 3,282 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Anthorn
    Amex is very widely accepted in the US, more so than in the UK, but I've never been anywhere that accepts Amex that does not also accept MC and Visa.

    The Lloyd's Avios Amex card comes with no forex loading fee, and gives you 2.5 Avios for every pound spent in the first six months. Very unusual to get loyalty benefits on overseas spending, and a great benefit for the Avios collectors. Well worth the £24 fee.
    Originally posted by Nick_C
    Perhaps you haven't rented cars and stayed in hotels in the states very much.

    I'm referring to original American Express cards and not inferior copies which only use the Amex payment processor. I got my American Express credit and charge cards specifically for travelling in the U.S. and I have never come to grief using one whereas I have found that foreign VISA and MasterCard CCs are sometimes treated with suspicion. Just because it's a VISA or MasterCard doesn't mean it will be accepted although that's the theory.

    The possibility of cards failing is the reason why the good advice is always take a back-up card just in case.
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 5th Dec 17, 9:47 PM
    • 3,143 Posts
    • 4,176 Thanks
    Nick_C
    Perhaps you haven't rented cars and stayed in hotels in the states very much.

    I'm referring to original American Express cards and not inferior copies which only use the Amex payment processor. I got my American Express credit and charge cards specifically for travelling in the U.S. and I have never come to grief using one whereas I have found that foreign VISA and MasterCard CCs are sometimes treated with suspicion. Just because it's a VISA or MasterCard doesn't mean it will be accepted although that's the theory.

    The possibility of cards failing is the reason why the good advice is always take a back-up card just in case.
    Originally posted by Anthorn
    And then again perhaps you are completely wrong in your assumptions.

    I have been a regular visitor to the US for 40 years. My father was American. I have family in the UK and US. I have a social security number. I have visited many of the States, stayed in a great many hotels, and rented cars from several different companies on many occasions.

    I have never had to use an Amex card because a Visa or Mastercard was declined or not accepted. I have never found a retailer or business who takes Amex but does not take Visa or MC.

    I have Amex cards issued directly by Amex, as well as the Lloyd's Avios card.

    I have never had an issue with the Lloyd's card being treated any differently to the ones directly issued by Amex.

    The Lloyd's cards are not in any way inferior to the cards issued directly by Amex. In fact they are superior for people who want to collect Avios, and there is no loading fee for foreign purchases.

    Of course, some people flash their Amex purely for the snob value, thinking it makes them superior in some way. It doesn't!
    • PeacefulWaters
    • By PeacefulWaters 6th Dec 17, 6:31 AM
    • 7,307 Posts
    • 9,050 Thanks
    PeacefulWaters
    Why would you choose to pay a 2.99% AMEX foreign currency fee when you have free alternatives?

    Madness.
    • lukey105
    • By lukey105 6th Dec 17, 9:14 AM
    • 32 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    lukey105
    Wow!! Thanks everyone for the feedback !! Lots to ponder here...

    One major point - I don't intend to use the card to withdraw cash (unless in an emergency) as I have dollars ready for the trip

    ALSO - seems I have left this rather late (leaving Dec 28th) so may now have to go via HSBC !!??
    If so - anyone au fait with HSBC credit cards and which might suit !? (I'm a HSBC Advance customer)
    Last edited by lukey105; 06-12-2017 at 9:24 AM.
    • Mr Goodkat
    • By Mr Goodkat 6th Dec 17, 8:57 PM
    • 396 Posts
    • 235 Thanks
    Mr Goodkat
    Why would you choose to pay a 2.99% AMEX foreign currency fee when you have free alternatives?

    Madness.
    Originally posted by PeacefulWaters
    This!

    Having disagreed with Anthorn on a number of posts I do believe he is in fact suffering from madness

    He does seem to enjoy wafting his Amex cards about a little too much so doesn't seem to mind the foreign exchange fees or the interest for not repaying in full each month!
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 6th Dec 17, 9:24 PM
    • 3,282 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Anthorn
    This!

    Having disagreed with Anthorn on a number of posts I do believe he is in fact suffering from madness

    He does seem to enjoy wafting his Amex cards about a little too much so doesn't seem to mind the foreign exchange fees or the interest for not repaying in full each month!
    Originally posted by Mr Goodkat
    When you've lost the debate the only thing left you can do is a personal attack against your opponent. That's very much frowned upon in bona fide debating groups and organisations.

    I have already explained my position exhaustively and I don't see any reason why I should repeat myself by posting the same explanation. Do have a good day.
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 6th Dec 17, 11:08 PM
    • 3,282 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Anthorn
    And then again perhaps you are completely wrong in your assumptions.

    I have been a regular visitor to the US for 40 years. My father was American. I have family in the UK and US. I have a social security number. I have visited many of the States, stayed in a great many hotels, and rented cars from several different companies on many occasions.

    I have never had to use an Amex card because a Visa or Mastercard was declined or not accepted. I have never found a retailer or business who takes Amex but does not take Visa or MC.

    I have Amex cards issued directly by Amex, as well as the Lloyd's Avios card.

    I have never had an issue with the Lloyd's card being treated any differently to the ones directly issued by Amex.

    The Lloyd's cards are not in any way inferior to the cards issued directly by Amex. In fact they are superior for people who want to collect Avios, and there is no loading fee for foreign purchases.

    Of course, some people flash their Amex purely for the snob value, thinking it makes them superior in some way. It doesn't!
    Originally posted by Nick_C
    On the "inferior copies" of American Express I highlighted my point was that they are not managed and supported by American Express. The banks which issue them merely use the American Express Payment Processing although some of them include incentives which are usually associated with original American Express cards.. That's the reason I refer to such cards as "inferior copies".Retailers, especially American retailers are aware of that. The question id how reliable do American retailers think the issuing bank is. Probably goes without saying that a U.K. bank is likely to be unknown in the States.

    I didn't say that American Express should be used as a backup for any card. I stated it to be the best prospect for travelling in U.S.A.
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