Credit cards Updated:
If you're getting ready for that much-needed holiday, sorting out your money should be high on the list of priorities. Spending abroad might sound easy enough but it can be incredibly costly if you do it the wrong way – and we don't just mean spending too much on souvenirs and sangria.
The wrong cards can charge extortionate fees and mean you spend far more than you need to, and even cash can be costly if you get the wrong exchange rate. However, there are some credit cards that have been specifically designed to be used overseas, offering low charges and the chance to benefit from decent exchange rates so you can really make the most of your spending money.
As with any credit card, however, these versions need to be managed carefully. Even more so in this case – they should only be used for travelling (you'll probably find cards more suited to your circumstances if you wanted to spend in the UK) and you absolutely must pay off the balance in full by the payment date, otherwise the benefits you'll get from the better rates and reduced fees will be completely wiped out by the interest that'll add up.
But, when used wisely, a proper travel credit card can easily be the best way to spend abroad. We've rounded up the top cards in the travel market – in other words, those that charge the lowest fees for foreign use – to help you find the one that's right for you.
Here are the current top 5 travel credit cards:
Representative purchase APR (variable)
Halifax Clarity Credit Card MasterCard
"Taking the top spot in the travel sector is the Clarity Credit Card MasterCard from Halifax, with this fee-free option being a fantastic choice for travellers.
"Cardholders won't be charged for making foreign purchases or cash withdrawals – cash will simply be charged at the standard interest rate – and they can also benefit from a competitive purchase rate as well as the option of receiving 2% cashback if they make a balance transfer."
SAGA Over 50s Platinum Visa
"Sitting comfortably in second place is the Over 50s Platinum Visa from Saga, a great choice for older travellers who are looking for a highly competitive purchase rate, added travel discounts and no fees whatsoever for foreign use.
"Customers can also benefit from competitive introductory purchase and balance transfer deals, however they should be aware that withdrawing cash will result in a 2% charge being applied."
Post Office Classic MasterCard
"Achieving a top three spot is this card from Post Office, again boasting no fees whatsoever when being used abroad.
"A great all-rounder, the Classic MasterCard also offers an introductory balance transfer period of 18 months with a 0.70% fee for a limited time, both highly competitive in the travel sector."
Post Office Platinum MasterCard
"Another one from the Post Office, this time offering an even lower purchase rate but with the caveat of higher minimum income restrictions, this card again offers the benefits of no fees for foreign use as well as great introductory 0% periods on both balance transfers and purchases.
"The cash withdrawal fee will need to be remembered, however, but if solely used to make foreign card purchases it could be a highly cost-effective choice."
Capital One Classic Extra MasterCard
"Just making the top five is this card from Capital One, a card that's great for foreign use yet also suitable for those with a poor credit history with a high rate and low credit limit.
"Cardholders can benefit from 0.50% cashback on all purchases, ideal for holiday spending, but this credit repair card comes at a hefty price of 34.9% for purchases so borrowers will need to make sure they repay the balance in full."
Information & Rates correct as at: 08.07.2014
Compare the best travel credit cards in our best buy charts
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.
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