'An overseas wallet... do you have one?' blog discussion

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  • johnedwards3005johnedwards3005 Forumite
    35 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Doesn't everyone keep an overseas wallet? In mine I now have a Halifax Clarity Credit Card for cash withdrawals worldwide (MSE recommended), but the small interest charge niggles me. As I only use it for this purpose, I've taken to leaving a relatively small credit balance in the account before travelling, so that (to the extent of that value) my spending should incur no interest while there is no amount outstanding. OK, I'm losing interest on that amount - but that's hard to notice nowadays!
  • Living_proofLiving_proof Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭
    I keep a separate purse with wallet section and it is permanently loaded with euros as that is generally what I need when I travel. I also keep my EHIC card there, insurance details, etc. and sometimes take my debit card as well. I can just put the UK purse in the safe, and use the travel one from then on. It's always so useful to have a few coins to tip or buy a coffee, etc. on the journey.
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  • I'm struggling to get my head around rates and costs...

    I have a Nationwide (old/existing customer) credit and debit card.

    From what I'm reading here I think it's sensible to spend using the credit card whilst abroad.

    What I am unclear on is what to do when drawing out cash, both have fees, is there a point at which it's cheaper to use the debit card for this? If so what's the crossover?
    Can anyone illustrate to me, with numbers what drawing cash out abroad will cost?
  • p-ch1982p-ch1982 Forumite
    18 Posts
    nationwide cards are the best around.
  • Well I thought that to but to buy Euros using a Nationwide debit card it will cost you 2% plus £1 for every transaction. I may be wrong here but if you use a Halifax Clarity credit card with direct debit and an APR of 12.9% the max that it's going to cost you is 1.075% because it will be paid off every month. According to my (new) Halifax Clarity Credit card only purchases get a 59 day interest free period so I'm assuming that foreign currency transactions will be charged monthly.
    Would this be correct?
  • I have a wallet and include in it most the above plus:

    * one page medical history summary
    * Holiday Inn Loyalty Card - these do work abroad
    * BA Loyalty Card (if travelling by BA of course for any onboard purchases)
    * details of card protection policy
    * list of medications being taken

    I also have keyed into mobile phone number of card protection provider in case policy is stolen or lost
  • In my holiday wallet:

    Halifax Clarity CC
    Barclaycard platinum CC (back up)
    Barclays debit card (for last minute purchases when leaving and returning to the UK)
    Cardholder protection insurance details (in case my wallet/bag is lost or stolen)
  • The CaxtonFX Card is proving hard to beat for international transactions. I have just finished a comparative test of 6 UK card types, and no other card got near to Caxton FX. There is no FX mark-up apart from when you load the card, no card fee, no transaction fee, no loading fee. Even ATM transactions are free, which represents a cost to the issuer.

    The way the card works is that the account operates in a secondary currency, so that when you transact in that currency abroad there are no currency (FX) charges. Of course you will pay an effective mark-up when you load the card in the first place, but this particular issuer is a large currency broker so the net rate you pay is considerably better than the rate that you would be charged by all other card operators (from my experience).

    I got a rate of 1.61 on my US$ Caxton FX card in early August and this compared to the 1.57 (best credit/debit card) and 1.51 (Post Office - cash).

    Three things to bear in mind -
    It is a prepaid card which means you have to load it up before you spend.
    You are fixing the rate ahead of your trip which could work in your favour (if the currency subsequently becomes more expensive) or against you.
    You will need one of these cards per currency you need - it is not cost effective to use a US$ card in the UK, for instance

    Nationwide used to be the best provider for card FX rates, and Santander have since overtaken them, but it is important to note that even with their 0% mark-up, you still get the currency provided by Visa/MasterCard on the day, which (in my tests) were not as competitive as the Caxton FX card. I have not yet tested the FairFX card, but I notice they do charge ATM fees for their US$ card.
  • I live in the UK but I am an Irish citizen and still have an Irish bank account. When I travel to any Euro EU country I always take my Irish bank account ATM card with me in my "travel wallet" - there is NO CHARGE for withdrawing Euros from ATM's in Euro EU countries with this card. This also applies to any other EURO EU country bank account ATM card: e.g. if you have a French ATM card, the same rule would apply. :money:
    I carry several Alka-Seltzer Express sachets in my travel wallet - I thoroughly recommend these for tummy problems and/or hangovers! :beer:
    One other thing I carry is a smallairline headphone converter (two prongs, as opposed to one) , which allows me to listen to movies for free with my own (quality) headphones - there is a charge to rent rubbish headphones on some airlines/flights. :cool:
  • sstephanie40sstephanie40 Forumite
    34 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Just applied for a Halifax Clarity card for US spending on MSE recom. My US wallet so far contains, Passport, US SIM card for phone calls/internet on phone, BAA World points card for airport/parking, Boots Advantage card for airport, Airline lounge passes for US airports (bought on eBay at a fraction of the cost via airline loyalty progs) Sentinel contact numbers for lost cards and passport, copy of flight dox, parking dox and insurance dox, $ and coins, and AMEX card as back up. Plus US hotel chain loyalty cards and partially spent $ gift cards from other trips! I also thought I was the only doing this!
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