Travel credit cards

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
384 replies 134.6K views
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  • AnthornAnthorn Forumite
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    I cannot praise the Starling bank account enough - their set up was so easy, they have NO charges for withdrawal, no minimum pay ins, you get Interest on your balance and you can use t anywhere. I've personally been to Canada and North Cyprus and had no problems anywhere, you just treat it as a credit card when you are there. And I've actually just used it as a savings account when I'm not away. The app is great, really helpful and informative you can see how much of your spends were on holidays / transport / eating out / groceries / entertainment / shopping. Super easy and user-friendly and no fees! yay!

    The bank account, oh yes it's very good isn't it. But the Starling Bank debit card has recurring problems of declines when used in the U.K. So dependence on the Starling debit card when abroad is foolhardy. However as with any card be it a bank card or a pre-paid card take one or two backups in case it fails!
  • FirstwatchFirstwatch Forumite
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    Today I contacted the Financial Ombudsman service after my 9th phone call to Tandem, totalling over three hours on the phone to the chaotic Customer service dept.


    • On the second day of my holiday in Spain, a random an unexplained £45.50 "spend" appeared on my app.
    • A few days later, this was still there and unexplained, i.e. no company assigned to it, no time it occurred, no line through it to show it as an unsuccessful etc
    • Contacted Customer Services. Empty promise that someone from "specialist services" would get back to me, this never happened.
    • three days later, did the same again. Spoke to someone new. He at least messaged me back that this was an "app error and everything would by back to normal by tomorrow"; It wasn't.
    • This Phantom £45.50 remained on my app screen for the whole two weeks of my holiday. I didn't use the card after paying my hotel "tourist tax" as I had lost confidence in it. Then it suddenly disappeared.
    • I got back to the UK and got an expected £62.95/70 Euro refund from the car hire company, which was the taken as part of hire T&Cs in case I didn't return the Hire car with a full tank.
    • My balance should have then been £1500 ( my credit limit, as I had paid off the car hire immediately via online banking) + the £62.95.
    • Instead I had a message on my app (still there as I type) "Bill for 28 July to 27 August. You've paid £5.00. Your direct debit of £38.10 is still expected to come out in 9 days" I hadn't paid £5 at all, from the Barclays account linked to Tandem or otherwise, so this was another unexplained amount
    • Called Tandem several times afterwards. First level of customer services gave me lots of lip service and Spiel but apparently couldn't do much or see much more than I could on my app. I was told/put on hold/told a email would be sent on my behalf to "Operations" / "Specialist services" / "Online services" but none of these next level tier of people ever got back to me to this day.
    • One week ago today, was put through to someone to make a formal complaint, which I dictated over the phone. Went into detail about the above. Some confusion as initially, the person was looking as the previous caller's account on screen, as it had "switched back". Asked her to cc me into the complaint email. Was told, after she checked with Supervisor, it "wasn't the policy". Asked her to end the complaint with requests for an explanation, a full refund of the money Tandem owes me and a swift cancellation of my account. Was then told to wait 3-5 working days for a response. Didn't get one. Called the Finanacial Ombudsman.
    Absolutely ridiculous that a credit card company (which used to be Harrods bank) has random transactions like this happening and then adds insult to injury by ignoring me, their own CS dept and their own formal complaints process.
    I know I'm only one Individual but once this is resolved I'm sticking with my Barclaycard travel platinum and my Metrobank Mastercard debit for travel and that's it.
  • djdavedjdave Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Just been rejected by Halifax so applied for Tandem, got accepted instantly with a £1200 limit but the higher 24.9% APR. The plan is to use it abroad and avoid fees then pay off in full, so the APR doesn't really matter so much.

    I'm going to "test" it in France later this month, then use it in Singapore and Australia next year. I'll let you know how it all goes!
  • I have just read the tips on pre-paid credit cards to use abroad. I am going to New Zealand next year and have a Santander Zero card which I normally use abroad. Martin recommends the Fair fx card to use as a pre-paid. My question is which is the cheaper to use, as I have only ever used my Zero card. I am told that Credit cards don't always work in NZ.
  • eDickyeDicky Forumite
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    ian210 wrote: »
    I have just read the tips on pre-paid credit cards to use abroad. I am going to New Zealand next year and have a Santander Zero card which I normally use abroad. Martin recommends the Fair fx card to use as a pre-paid. My question is which is the cheaper to use, as I have only ever used my Zero card. I am told that Credit cards don't always work in NZ.
    Zero will give you the ideal MasterCard rate whereas FairFX use their own rate, 2-3% worse (on the same day).

    If you want a good prepaid account card (as opposed to a true bank such as Starling or Monzo) that uses MasterCard rate with no fees (except £1 per cash withdrawal after the first two free per month), there's https://loot.io

    I doubt there would be any problems using your Zero card in NZ, but you should always have some backup anyway.
    Evolution, not revolution
  • stevenpcstevenpc Forumite
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    eDicky wrote: »
    Zero will give you the ideal MasterCard rate whereas FairFX use their own rate, 2-3% worse (on the same day).

    If you want a good prepaid account card (as opposed to a true bank such as Starling or Monzo) that uses MasterCard rate with no fees (except £1 per cash withdrawal after the first two free per month), there's https://loot.io

    I doubt there would be any problems using your Zero card in NZ, but you should always have some backup anyway.


    just had a look at the loot link its says the mastercard rate on the day you make your transaction is not the actual rate of exchange you get as you get the rate on the day the rates have settled ie a couple of days after the transaction
  • eDickyeDicky Forumite
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    stevenpc wrote: »
    just had a look at the loot link its says the mastercard rate on the day you make your transaction is not the actual rate of exchange you get as you get the rate on the day the rates have settled ie a couple of days after the transaction
    It's the same with any card using MasterCard or Visa conversion rates, including all credit cards.
    Evolution, not revolution
  • photomephotome Forumite
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    I have a friend going to vietnam they have no cards at mo. i use a clarity and a revolut, in europe and the USA my son uses a starling ,


    my question is can i reccomend those and or any others for a 3 week trip to vietnam
  • eDickyeDicky Forumite
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    Yes, they all work in Vietnam, same as anywhere. Also loot.io prepaid. Monzo.
    Evolution, not revolution
  • stevenpcstevenpc Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    eDicky wrote: »
    It's the same with any card using MasterCard or Visa conversion rates, including all credit cards.


    revolut and creation cards both mastercard give you the the rate at the time you use the card not what the rate is a couple of days later it can take creation a couple of days b4 it apears on your account but the rate is whatever it was on the day you used the card.
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