Best cards for holiday spending

Published by Rob Goodman on 18 June 2014.
Last updated on 18 June 2014

Credit cards

You've packed your suitcase, bought your travel insurance and sorted your airport parking, but before you go you should also make sure you've packed the right plastic.

We've all heard horror stories of sun-seekers returning from their getaway only to be hit hard in the pocket because they didn't realise how much they'd be charged for paying on plastic abroad.

Fortunately, Moneywise has looked through all the options available for savvy holidaymakers and come up with a list of the best cards so you can avoid coming home to any nasty shocks.

Find the best credit card deal

Credit cards

Top of the best-buy table is the Halifax Clarity Credit Card. With a competitive APR of 12.9%, there is no charge for ATM withdrawals when you're abroad or transaction fee on purchases.
The Post Office Platinum Card has an APR of 17.8% plus a 2.5% fee for using an ATM. The interest on cash transactions is charged at 27.9% but you will get 0% on balance transfers for the first 18 months.

Next up is the Metro Bank Card, which comes with an APR of 13%, along with free purchases and ATM withdrawals in Europe, but you must have a Metro Bank current account to apply for the card. If you are holidaying outside Europe, you will be charged 1.9% on purchases, as well as £1 per transaction for using an ATM.

Saga's Platinum Card comes with a very competitive APR of 11.9%, and you won't be charged any fees for purchases. There is a 2% handling fee for cash machine withdrawals and you can only apply for it if you are aged 50 or over.

The Nationwide Select Credit Card also is fee-free on purchases and ATM withdrawals.

Credit cards APR* Non-sterling purchases Non-sterling cash withdrawals ATM charges for overseas withdrawals
Halifax Clarity Credit Card 12.9% No charge No charge No charge
Post Office Platinum Credit Card 17.8% No charge No charge 2.5% handling fee (min. £3)
Metro Bank Current Account 13% 1.9% (free in Europe) 1.9% (free in Europe) £1 per transaction (free in Europe)
Saga Platinum Card 11.9% No charge No charge 2% handling fee (min. £3)
Nationwide Select Credit Card 15.9% No charge No charge 2.5% handling fee (min. £3)

*Based on a credit limit of £1,200

Debit cards

Norwich & Peterborough Building Society's Gold Classic current account charges no fees for cash withdrawals made using its debit card, or purchases, and its insurance protects you against the loss of bags, keys and cash abroad and at home. However, you'll have to pay in £5 a month or hold a minimum balance of £5,000 to get the account.

The Metro Bank debit card is fee-free in Europe but charges 1.9% for purchases and ATM withdrawals everywhere else.

The Nationwide FlexAccount charges a fee of 2% on purchases and £1 per ATM withdrawal and comes with UK and European travel insurance. Its authorised overdraft rate of 18.9% AER is also competitive but you'll face a monthly charge of £20 for going over your arranged borrowing limit.

You'll pay 2.75% on non-sterling transactions with the M&S Bank current account but you won't be charged for withdrawing money from a cash machine.

Debit cards (current accounts) Non-sterling purchases Non-sterling cash withdrawals ATM charge for overseas cash withdrawals
Norwich & Peterborough Gold Classic No charge No charge No charge
Metro Bank Current Account 1.9% (free in Europe) 1.9% (free in Europe) £1 per transaction (free in Europe)
Nationwide FlexAccount 2% 2% £1 per wthdrawal
M&S Bank Current Account 2.75% 2.75% No charge

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