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Warning over card charges abroad

Warning over card charges abroad

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 27/11/2009
First Published: 17/11/2009

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Winter holidaymakers have been warned of the potentially high costs they face when using a credit or debit card abroad.

Research from Moneyfacts.co.uk has revealed the vast majority of credit cards levy a foreign usage charge, with some fees applied each time the card is used, rising as high as 2.99% for both purchases and cash transactions.

The only provider not making an additional charge for foreign usage at present is the Post Office.

Also important to look out for is a cash handling fee, which can see anything up to £5.99 charged if cash is taken out abroad.

"Taking cash out on your credit card is never advisable, even in the UK," said Michelle Slade, analyst at Moneyfacts.co.uk. "Not only is the interest rate much higher than on purchases but you will be charged interest from day one."

Meanwhile, it has also been warned that additional charges can be made for using debit cards to take money out of a cash machine and making purchases abroad too.

"Customers taking out cash need to be aware of the minimum charge," warns Ms Slade. "If you withdraw lots of small amounts you will be hardest hit. It may be worth planning ahead for your financial requirements a few days at a time.

"Even paying for goods directly with a debit card does not stop you being charged. Most providers charge a retail conversion charge and some charge an additional transaction charge.

"With everyone concentrating on enjoying themselves rather than on what they are spending, overseas charges can soon mount up. When customers get home they could find a nasty surprise when their monthly statements arrive."

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 Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.