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using bank cards overseas - avoid high charges

6 replies 74 views
it seems tourists are being encouraged to use cards at shops/restaurants/travel/bars etc etc and cash is no longer preferred
That being case, what cards do folk use to avoid high charges ?   

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  • BrowntoaBrowntoa Forumite, Board Guide
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    Read through the forums guide and get a travel credit card or prepaid card

    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards/
    Links in my signature currently broken
    I'm the Board Guide of the Referrers ,Telephones, Pensions , Shop Don't drop ,over 50's , Boost your income and Discount Code boards which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum runnning smoothly .However, please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post please report it to [email protected] Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • DoshwasterDoshwaster Forumite
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    Starling is my current first choice for small transactions at ATM withdrawals with Halifax Clarity as a backup and as a credit card for deposits and bigger payments.
    Pay by contactless wherever possible. I've never had the DCC scam when using contactless but if you use Chip & PIN it gives them the chance to fiddle with the terminal to convert the transaction to Sterling - a practice which is rampant in some parts of Spain where they claim it's "for your convenience" or "the machine does it automatically".
  • AlexMacAlexMac Forumite
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    Good advice from Doshwasher;
    as we confirmed, when in Spain, just before Lockdown, we  got better rates on our Halifax Clarity card than even at the best FX services in the UK which we find prior to travel using this website's Travel Money Max tool.  (We always take a few Euros with us for taxis or tolls immediately after arrival).   

    And while we've never got round to getting a Starling card for ATM withdrawals, we got almost equally good rates at Spanish Bank ATMs with our UK Nationwide debit card this Feb and March.

    Although if our experience in Spain is typical, you have to choose the right brand of Bank ATM.  Some are free to use, but others charge a couple of Euros for ATM transactions; these are displayed on screen, so you can bail out before the withdrawal.  Unicaixa and, I think Caixabank were free in the south.  And of course, as D says, when paying by Credit card or using a debit, you must avoid saying "yes" to the "convert to Sterling" offer; which is a bit naughty, as it feels counter-intuitive to have to press the "no" button midway trhough the onscreen confirmation.  The on-screen wording is designed to bounce you into an unprofitable "yes"!
  • edited 8 July at 5:42PM
    NoodleDoodleManNoodleDoodleMan Forumite
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    edited 8 July at 5:42PM
    "Although if our experience in Spain is typical, you have to choose the right brand of Bank ATM."
    A Santander current account debit card is best for Spain and the Canaries when taking cash from a Santander branded ATM - no fees added on.
    There is a £500 minimum pay in per month condition - but it can be transfered out to another account sameday - or just use the account as your regular day to day UK account.
    The Santander 123 Lite is an ideal choice.
    Santander Zero credit card is good for overseas purchases of goods and services, again no added fees.
  • Carrot007Carrot007 Forumite
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    "Although if our experience in Spain is typical, you have to choose the right brand of Bank ATM."
    A Santander current account debit card is best for Spain and the Canaries when taking cash from a Santander branded ATM - no fees added on.
    There is a £500 minimum pay in per month condition - but it can be transfered out to another account sameday - or just use the account as your regular day to day UK account.
    The Santander 123 Lite is an ideal choice.
    Santander Zero credit card is good for overseas purchases of goods and services, again no added fees.

    However if you do not bank with them santander are about the worst choice atm you can get in spain. Best option is to migrate to some bank you have never heard of that sounds local. Always very cheap. And not many are free anymore, unless you have some connection.

  • edited 9 July at 9:09AM
    NoodleDoodleManNoodleDoodleMan Forumite
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    edited 9 July at 9:09AM
    Carrot007 said:
    "Although if our experience in Spain is typical, you have to choose the right brand of Bank ATM."
    A Santander current account debit card is best for Spain and the Canaries when taking cash from a Santander branded ATM - no fees added on.
    There is a £500 minimum pay in per month condition - but it can be transfered out to another account sameday - or just use the account as your regular day to day UK account.
    The Santander 123 Lite is an ideal choice.
    Santander Zero credit card is good for overseas purchases of goods and services, again no added fees.

    However if you do not bank with them santander are about the worst choice atm you can get in spain. Best option is to migrate to some bank you have never heard of that sounds local. Always very cheap. And not many are free anymore, unless you have some connection.

    Yes, Santander ATMs are about the worst choice if you don't have a suitable Santander debit card to use. I think it's now as much as 3 Euros fee per transaction.
    However, that aside, they are still a "best buy" deal if you hold a UK Santander current account due to their widespread ATM availability in mainland Spain, the Balearics and Canaries.
    Not sure whatyou mean about migrating etc. and the connection aspect.
    A few Spanish banks, not many though, still offer fee free ATM usage.
    Somebody flagged up this Revolut page several months ago - looks like it's based on cardholders reports, and is likely to be out of date.



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