Mastercard vs Visa FX Rate

danielson81 Posts: 186
First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
edited 30 August 2017 at 3:04PM in Credit cards

I have a Halifax Clarity and Nationwide Select credit card with 0% fees abroad etc.

According to:

The rate you'll get is set by Mastercard – it tends to be higher than Visa's and Amex's rate, making this the joint top card for spending.

However I purchased something abroad for €27 on the same day last week in Malta.

Nationwide Select Visa:

Currencies fluctuate every day. The rate shown applies to transactions processed by Visa Europe on 21 August 2017 with a currency conversion fee of 0.00%

27.00 Euro = 24.70 Pound Sterling

* * * * *

1 Euro = 0.9149633100 Pound Sterling

- Or -

1 Pound Sterling = 1.0929400000 Euro

Halifax Mastercard

Transaction Details
* Required
Transaction Date *

Transaction Amount *
Your Card Details
Bank Fee *

Your Card Currency Amount
1 EUR = 0.915996 GBP

Ok, ok it's only 3p, but with multiple transactions etc, this might add up in the long run?

Although they are both excellent spending cards abroad still!


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 35,242
    First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    If you were to always use whichever card that was going to give you a worse rate, then yes it would add up. Although not to very much.

    However, you'd be exceptionally unlucky, especially if you used Mastercard as your main card, as the rate tends to be better.
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,932
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    Now you know why MSE says MasterCard's rate "tends to be higher than Visa's" rather than a more definitive "is always higher....".
  • System
    System Posts: 178,074
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Community Admin
    The big benefit of the Clarity is the charge free ATM withdrawals, if you need them.
  • Mastercard rate is better more often that not. But, it is not always better.

    On average, if you use the Mastercard over the Visa, you will come out tops. If you monitor the exchange rates carefully for each card schema you will come out a few pence better off.

    Given the time involved for a few pence, the Mastercard is better overall.
  • eDicky
    eDicky Posts: 6,527
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    There are variables that make a rate comparison for actual card usage impractical. For example two purchases made with a MasterCard and a Visa on the same day may well be settled and the final rate set on separate dates, when exchange rates have meanwhile moved one way or the other.

    In practical use, either card (if without fees) are so much better than losing 2-3% on fees or exchanging cash, and any difference between them has no real significance.
    Evolution, not revolution
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