MSE News: Debit cards worse than credit cards for summer holidays

On a family holiday spending of £1,000 some will unwittingly lose out by £90, just because of which plastic they choose...
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Debit cards worse than credit cards for summer holidays
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  • ManAtHomeManAtHome Forumite
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    Santander 123 debit card is 'load-free' when you withdraw Euros from Santander ATMs in Spain (including the Canary Islands).
  • PincherPincher
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    I used to be against packaged tours, and organise everything myself, but I'm beginning to see the good side of all inclusive deals.


    I have various leftover currencies, including £400 worth of Mexican pesos that's been sitting around for 10 years, which are bound to be not valid any more. I suppose some people will say put it in the charity envelope, but £200 of Norwegian Kronas? Should have just paid for everything by a fee free credit card.


    Cunard, which is based in Southampton, charges for everything in US dollars. What is going on there? A good thing at current exchange rate, I suppose.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    From the article:
    2. There are five load-free credit cards

    A few specialist (no annual fee) credit cards are load-free worldwide, so £100 of euros spent on them costs £100 – as people get the same, near-perfect rate as the banks get, every time and everywhere they use them.

    This smashes all other methods of spending abroad, including the top bureaux de change.

    Halifax Clarity topped the group as it has the lowest ATM charges. The other top load-free cards, are Saga (over-50s), Post Office, Nationwide Select (for its customers only), Santander Zero (which isn't not available to new customers) and Capital Classic Extra.

    Worth noting that Santander Select customers with a 1-2-3 credit card also pay 0%. The 2.95% loading is waived.
  • em6em6 Forumite
    8 Posts
    @Pincher:
    If you have notes left over, just exchange them back into pounds.
    If you have coins, put them in an RNLI box. They'll take anything, even currencies that are no longer valid. I note you resent giving £200 to charity, but you've already lost/spent the money so, rather than just sitting in a drawer in your house, maybe you could do some good with it?
    It is also worth mentioning to friends what currencies you have lying around. I got the krona I needed for my holiday from a friend who had leftovers.

    All the loading and so on confuses me, and they are constantly moving the goalposts. I have had Nationwide, the Post Office and Metrobank all pull the rug out from under me at some stage. It shouldn't be allowed. Once you do a deal on a card, that deal should remain for the lifetime of the card. They're not allowed to change the spec on a house after you've signed for it! Likewise for a service. If I pay for a £6 car wash, they're not then allowed to say I'm only going to get a £3 car wash, because they feel like it. It's a scandal and I'm astonished how sanguine MSE is about it. You should be campaigning for change, not writing complicated articles that don't make it any clearer (and contain both spelling mistakes and dead links, I might add).
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    ManAtHome wrote: »
    Santander 123 debit card is 'load-free' when you withdraw Euros from Santander ATMs in Spain (including the Canary Islands).


    Interesting.

    I appreciate Santander are a Spanish bank, but I rang Santander and they have no knowledge of that provision. The Santander website states:
    Charges apply when you use your debit card abroad, except for the Zero debit card customers (which we are currently not offering to new customers).

    My son has a 123 debit card and is off to Spain next month. Have you anything in writing please that confirms the zero loading?
  • RedDwarf82RedDwarf82 Forumite
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    Cardew wrote: »
    My son has a 123 debit card and is off to Spain next month. Have you anything in writing please that confirms the zero loading?

    http://www.santander.co.uk/uk/current-accounts/current-account-faqs/
    Are there any fees for using a Santander cash machine in Spain?

    We don't charge you for using a cash machine abroad but the cash machine operator may make a charge.



    Always choose to take your cash in the local currency if you have the option
    If you choose sterling, it means that the retailer or bank will handle the conversion and may charge you a conversion fee or a foreign usage fee (or both).



    Avoid all cash handling and foreign exchange fees by using a Santander cash machine
    If you have an adult current account and pay in at least £500 per month, you can get free cash machine withdrawals in Spain when you use any Santander cash machine.
  • em6 wrote: »
    @Pincher:
    If you have notes left over, just exchange them back into pounds.
    If you have coins, put them in an RNLI box. They'll take anything, even currencies that are no longer valid. I note you resent giving £200 to charity, but you've already lost/spent the money so, rather than just sitting in a drawer in your house, maybe you could do some good with it?
    It is also worth mentioning to friends what currencies you have lying around. I got the krona I needed for my holiday from a friend who had leftovers.

    All the loading and so on confuses me, and they are constantly moving the goalposts. I have had Nationwide, the Post Office and Metrobank all pull the rug out from under me at some stage. It shouldn't be allowed. Once you do a deal on a card, that deal should remain for the lifetime of the card. They're not allowed to change the spec on a house after you've signed for it! Likewise for a service. If I pay for a £6 car wash, they're not then allowed to say I'm only going to get a £3 car wash, because they feel like it. It's a scandal and I'm astonished how sanguine MSE is about it. You should be campaigning for change, not writing complicated articles that don't make it any clearer (and contain both spelling mistakes and dead links, I might add).

    Post Office still doesn't charge forex fees. Metro Bank can still be used in Europe without charge. You need to adapt in our ever changing world.
  • PincherPincher
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    Amusingly, I finally qualify for a SAGA card by age, and they rejected my application! Oh well, cancel a few cards and try again later. The other cards are for stoozing, so won't last very long, but the SAGA one will be a keeper, I think.
  • HerbalusHerbalus Forumite
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    In a reversal of what many expect to be the logic, millions of debit card customers of the UK's biggest banks would find it cheaper to use their credit cards (provided the cards are repaid in full so there's no interest – otherwise it's not worth it) than their normal debit cards when they're on holiday.

    This is because while some large banks' debit cards levy a charge every time you spend on them, no credit cards do.

    It might be prudent to highlight that this doesn't apply to withdrawing cash - a point that might be inferred from the main headline of credit cards being better abroad. None of my credit cards have charges for purchases (they just have the load), but withdrawing cash would mean min fee £2.50 plus 2.75% load, which is actually worse than the "debit cards from hell".
  • jackieblackjackieblack Forumite
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    Post Office still doesn't charge forex fees.

    Their fees are factored into their notoriously poor exchange rates.
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