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Using Your Credit Cards Abroad

Using Your Credit Cards Abroad

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 04/04/2011
First Published: 19/05/2005

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Many of us do not realise that, when we use a credit card abroad the card issuer adds on a foreign usage loading. In fact, a recent user poll revealed that 67% of consumers do not know the charges for using their credit card abroad. Foreign usage loading on cards averages 2.75%. That means if we spent £1,000 on our credit card whilst on our holiday we would be charged £27.50.

We also need to consider the fact that if we are withdrawing cash whilst abroad, we will also be charged our usual cash withdrawal fee, which averages 2%. Thus, if you withdrew £1,000 using your credit card abroad you would be charged 4.75% - £47.50.

Samantha Owens, Moneyfacts Research Editor comments: "One exception to this rule is Nationwide BS which does not charge a foreign usage loading and the cash withdrawal charge is only 1.5%. Liverpool Victoria also does not make a usage charge if the customer uses their card in the EU. Consumers who spend on their cards abroad should check that they are getting the best deal on foreign usage, as in this case the best APR doesn't necessarily mean the cheapest card."

Consumers can find out what these charges are by visiting the foreign usage charts in the cards best buys section on There is also a full search of credit cards available on the site which enables users to filter on items such as free usage abroad, free travel insurance and much more.

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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 Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.