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Exchanging money before my holiday, and should i consider a travel credit card?

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Exchanging money before my holiday, and should i consider a travel credit card?

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MarkAlexander18MarkAlexander18 Forumite
140 posts
I am going on holiday in a couple of months and needed some advice on spending money issues. This will be my first time on holiday since I was young, so it's exciting, if not a little daunting. Anyway, I am trying to prepare well in advance. I don't know much about travel credit cards, but would one be worth it? Also, in your opinion how much spending money is a good amount to exchange before leaving. My spending money budget is £1500.

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  • zagfleszagfles Forumite
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    Where are you going? Getting a travel credit card is a good idea, but there are destination specific differences in how to use them.
  • zagfles wrote: »
    Where are you going? Getting a travel credit card is a good idea, but there are destination specific differences in how to use them.

    I'm going to South Africa.
  • zagfleszagfles Forumite
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    Never been, but you'll likely be best getting a good card, see https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards/
    Not sure if ATMs there usually charge, but even if they do it'll almost certainly be better value than changing cash, particularly changing cash in the UK. Generally better value abroad.

    Watch out for the ATM giving you a conversion rate, these are usually rubbish but you should get an option to get billed in local currency, take the "without conversion" option.
  • Have a back up to the credit card you get. Starling bank offer a fantastic bank account that is free to use overseas. You can withdraw cash from ATMs as well as use it in shops and restaurants.

    For credit cards, I have the Halifax Clarity Card. But check the link above and see what’s best for you.
    EMERGENCY FUND £1644.03 / £3000 (55% SAVED)
    CAR FUND £1200 / £1200 (100% SAVED)
  • Have a back up to the credit card you get. Starling bank offer a fantastic bank account that is free to use overseas. You can withdraw cash from ATMs as well as use it in shops and restaurants.

    For credit cards, I have the Halifax Clarity Card. But check the link above and see what’s best for you.

    I have a bit of an issue with Starling bank and Halifax clarity because I wasn't able to pass a credit check. I have heard that Revolut are another alternative option for a travel money card. Any advice on this?
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • EveryWhereEveryWhere
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    I have a bit of an issue with Starling bank and Halifax clarity because I wasn't able to pass a credit check. I have heard that Revolut are another alternative option for a travel money card. Any advice on this?

    The caveat with Revolut is the ATM withdrawal limit of £200 per month and a 2% charge after that is utilised during that month. Also poor customer service if something goes wrong. Customer service might have improved.
    You can go through an affiliate website in order to get their card for free.

    Another option, if you have credit issues, https://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/current-account/essential-current-account.jsp. A £1.50 ATM withdrawal charge applies.

    Also, be careful of ATM fees; https://community.revolut.com/t/revolut-in-south-africa/29368/12

    Both with no charge for purchases.
  • eDickyeDicky Forumite
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    I have a bit of an issue with Starling bank and Halifax clarity because I wasn't able to pass a credit check.
    Are you saying that Starling Bank declined your application? My understanding is that they don't run a full credit check, unless you ask for an overdraft.

    The Aqua Reward credit card is easier to obtain than the Clarity and pays 0.5% cashback on all purchases, although cash withdrawals are not fee-free.
    Evolution, not revolution
  • worried_jimworried_jim
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    eDicky wrote: »
    Are you saying that Starling Bank declined your application? My understanding is that they don't run a full credit check, unless you ask for an overdraft.

    It's a bad day in the office if you cant pass a credit check for a standard Starling account.
  • Sharon87Sharon87 Forumite
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    I would definitely split between cash and card if you can. Certain things in South Africa is very cash only/preferred - like paying car guards for instance (you pay them to look after your car as oppose to paying parking meters), paying for fuel with a tip to your fuel filler.etc

    Most restaurants will accept cards, but some smaller ones may not.

    I would say get a revolut or a different currency card if you're unable to get a travel credit card. You can exchange money in the UK - if you do, pre order it online at your nearest/best exchange place for the best rate, don't wait till the airport! Also be aware that taking too much money into South Africa can raise eyebrows at customs - you can't take more than 25,000 rand into South Africa (£1337) - not that you'd want that amount of cash with you!
  • RedveeRedvee Forumite
    138 posts
    Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I took my Revolut card with me to Barcelona as well as cash. Most of the spending went on Revolut/Google Pay. There was only one issue when paying for train tickets cause RENFE are based in Madrid and I was trying to buy a ticket in Barcelona and had location security turned on. My friend has his card declined on EasyJet on the way home cause they no longer accept pre-paid CCs, my transaction went through OK with GooglePay backed up with Revolut.
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