The best cards to take on holiday - Credit cards - News - Moneyfacts

News

The best cards to take on holiday

The best cards to take on holiday

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 18/07/2013
First Published: 18/07/2013

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Taking a credit, debit or prepaid card on holiday can be a safer alternative to taking cash. But although it's safer, it can sometimes work out more expensive if you haven't been selective enough about which flexible friend to take.

A good travel card will charge no extra fees for you making purchases abroad.

Some may not charge you extra for withdrawing cash either, although you shouldn't withdraw cash on a credit card unless you've got no other option.

Take a Visa and a MasterCard

The two biggest card types, MasterCard and Visa, may be more widely accepted in certain areas than others. Traditionally, MasterCard is accepted widely in Europe, with Visa being more acceptable worldwide.

So in order to increase your options, it's a good idea to carry both a Visa and a MasterCard – particularly if you're planning on travelling further afield than Europe.

5 reasons not to withdraw cash on your credit card

Always avoid withdrawing cash using a credit card as it is very expensive. Here are 5 reasons why:

  • Interest is charged from day one, so there is no interest free 'grace' period like with purchases.
  • The interest rate on cash is also much higher than that for purchases, around 27.9% - even on traveller friendly cards.
  • There can be a cash withdrawal fee, typically 3.00% of the amount withdrawn.
  • Foreign usage charges may also apply – this can be a further 2.99% of the amount you withdraw.
  • Foreign banks may charge you for using their cash machines. If you are a customer of an international bank such as HSBC or Santander, using their cash machines will mean you won't be charged, although it is also wise to check with your provider before taking money out.

For example:
You take out £100 using a credit card whilst you are on holiday. You could be charged:

  • £2.37 (one month's interest at 27.9%)
  • £3.00 cash withdrawal fee
  • £2.99 for using your cash abroad

This makes a total of £8.36 (to be nice we've assumed that the foreign bank won't charge you for using their cash machine). And, of course if you don't repay the amount within the first month, the interest charges will continue.

Prepaid cards

Don't want to take your credit card or debit card away with you? Prefer to stay in control of your budget? A prepaid card might be for you.

Prepaid cards work by you loading the card with credit before you go (or even online while you are away) in much the same way as a pay as you go mobile phone.

You can then spend up to the credit you've put onto the card – great if you need to be strict on your budget or don't fancy taking a new credit card or switching current account, purely for the travel friendly offers.

One downside to prepaid cards is that they may not be available in the currency of the country you are travelling to (as opposed to a credit or debit card which has no such restriction), so be sure to take this into consideration when choosing your card.

Prepaid Cards

Provider
Details
  • UK pound, US dollar and euro card options
  • 1% cashback on all purchases made with the euro & US dollar options
  • No purchase or ATM charges
  • 1.85% foreign exchange fee
  • No issue fee
  • Available in UK pounds
  • Free purchases made in your card currency
  • Free ATM cash withdrawals made in your card currency
  • 5.75% foreign exchange fee
  • No issue fee

The best credit cards and debit cards to take on holiday

Provider
Transaction Charges
Conversion Charges
Details

None

None
  • 12.9% APR
  • 0% on balance transfers
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% on purchases
  • No foreign exchange fees - perfect for travel
  • 2% cashback earned on balance transfers made within 90 days of account opening up to a maximum of £60.
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1,200.00 charged at 12.95% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 12.95% APR variable.
Provider
Transaction Charges
Conversion Charges
Details

None

None
  • 11.9% APR
  • 0% on balance transfers for 9 months
  • 0% on purchases for 9 months
  • 0% on foreign currency fee
  • Emergency cash service available
  • Discounts within SAGA group
  • You must be 50 or over to take out this card
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 11.9% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 11.9% APR variable.
Provider
Transaction Charges
Conversion Charges
Details

None in Europe/ 1.00% outside Europe

None in Europe/ 1.00% outside Europe
  • 19.9% APR
  • 0% on balance transfers for 14 months
  • 0% on purchases for 3 months
  • 0% commission on purchases abroad
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1,200 charged at 19.9% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 19.9% APR variable.

Debit Cards

Provider
Transaction Charges
Conversion Charges
Details

None in Europe/ 1.00% outside Europe

None in Europe/ 1.00% outside Europe
  • Authorised overdraft 17.9% EAR
  • You need to pay in £500 per month
  • Online banking service
  • Transferred authorised overdrafts charged at 0% for 6 months
This is a current account that offers an overdraft facility.
Representative Example:
Based on overdraft limit of £500 charged at 17.9% EAR Variable. Overdraft fee of £5.00 per month applies.

Correct as at 18/07/13

What Next?

Find the best credit card rates for going aboard- Compare credit cards

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

Related Articles

Top credit cards for Christmas spending

‘Tis (just about) the season to be jolly, but before all that festive fun begins, chances are you’ve got a bit more shopping to do. But, if you’re turning to credit to fund things, you’ll want to use cards that offer 0% interest deals on purchases.

Spooky reality of high balance transfer fees

Credit card debt is scary at any time of year. While most might assume that opting for the longest deal on offer would save them the most, our data shows some of the longest deals can actually work out to be the most expensive.

Reward credit cards that become ‘pointless’

If you regularly use cards to pay at the till, you may have considered opening a reward credit card to earn points every time you spend. However, not all of these cards are as rewarding as they may seem…
 
Close