Finding a cost-efficient way to spend while overseas can help you keep your travel costs down.
A handful of cards have either no or low fees for spending and withdrawing cash abroad, making them one of the cheapest ways to get dollars, euros or whatever else you need when you're out of the country.
These cards also give you a better rate than at the majority of bureaux de change, not to mention the security benefits plastic has over cash. But remember it is always wise to carry more than one form of payment, so even if your card or wallet is lost then you are still able to spend.
Every week we select our Moneywise Best Buys, highlighting the best credit and debit cards for use abroad.
Best credit cards for spending abroad
It's often sensible to pay for purchases when you're abroad by credit card – if anything untoward does happen you will usually be covered by your provider for purchases over £100.
Most travel credit cards charge interest on cash withdrawals from the day of the transaction. You can get around these interest charges by paying off your balance on the same date you withdraw cash, although remember you may not be able to access your online banking if you are abroad.
No fees on worldwide spending or cash withdrawals, representative 19.9% APR variable
The Halifax Clarity credit card remains a firm favourite with travellers as there are no fees to use it for purchases or cash advances worldwide. But be aware that you will pay interest at a rate of 19.9% APR on any cash withdrawals from the date of transaction.
No fees on worldwide spending or cash withdrawals, representative 18.9% APR variable
Another option is the Santander Zero card. This also has no fees on worldwide spending or cash withdrawals. Interest is charged from the day you withdraw cash at a rate of 18.9% APR.
118 118 Credit Card
No fees on worldwide spending or cash withdrawals, representative 34% APR variable
The 118 118 Money credit card has no foreign transaction or cash withdrawal fees. As long as you pay in full you won’t be charged interest on spending or withdrawals. However, the credit limit is low at £500. It has an APR of 34%.
Best debit cards for overseas travel
If you're unable or unwilling to take out a credit card then these debit cards are a good option for travel abroad.
Starling Bank Current Account
No fees on worldwide spending or cash withdrawals
App-only provider Starling Bank offers no fees on worldwide spending or cash withdrawals. This account also pays 0.5% interest on balances up to £2,000 and 0.25% between £2,000 and £85,000.
Metro Bank Current Account
No fees on European spending or cash withdrawals
Metro Bank's current account is free to use for purchases and cash withdrawals in 34 European countries. However, if you go any further afield you'll pay transaction fees of 2.75%.
You can open your account online or in branch, which are mainly located in London and the South East.
How are Moneywise Best Buys selected?
We look across as much of the market as possible to find the best deals using industry data from Defaqto.
All our picks are nationally available - online, by post or by phone. We try and pick products that are available to both new and existing customers, but we’ll highlight some offers for existing customers if they’re much better than what else is on offer.
Our choices offer the cheapest spending and cash withdrawals overseas. We prioritise cards and accounts that do not charge a monthly fee.
We reserve the right to use our discretion at all times.
Hi John, the Halifax Clarity card allows cash withdrawals in the same way you would use a debit card. However, you are charged interest from the day of withdrawal so be aware of that. The Santander Zero card has no fees worldwide at any and can be used at any provider (although remember the local bank or cash machine may charge a fee). Again, this charges interest from the date of cash withdrawal.
Hi Nicky, the WeSwap card hasn't been included as it has cash machine fees for small withdrawals and also charges a currency swap fee.
NATIONWIDE SELECT CREDIT CARD
I think the commenter was saying when using it to withdraw money, there was a charge.
Hi Jeremy, the FairFX cards have extra charges, such as fees for withdrawing cash commission fees on top. This means the cards listed above are a better deal, providing you're accepted for the accounts. However, prepaid cards can be a useful way to manage your cash and make sure you don't spend more than you want to.