Costs of using bank cards abroad 2021

Bank Card fees abroad

Last minute holidays in August and September will require spending money so it is a good idea to know the costs of using bank cards abroad before you go so there are no surprises on your return.

Holidaymakers planning to travel abroad this coming Bank Holiday may wish to work out the costs of using existing debit or credit cards for spending and cash withdrawals. Here is some key data from to help you.

The data has been compiled to identify the best debit and credit cards available for travelling abroad compared what some of the charges are for standard credit or debit cards.

Costs of using bank cards abroad


Debit card providers will charge a Non-Sterling Transaction Fee of 2.75%.

A Non-Sterling Transaction Fee of 2.75% applies to all ATM withdrawals regardless of your account type.

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Lloyds Bank

Withdrawing cash with Debit card is 2.99% + £1.50 fee per transaction for each withdrawal.

Purchasing goods 2.99% + £0.50 for each transaction.

Credit card is 2.95% and cash fee is 5%

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Debit card is 2.95% for both cash withdrawals and purchases.

Everyday credit card is 2.95% . Cash withdrawals 3%

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Debit card is 2.99%

Credit card fee 2.95%. Cash withdrawals is 5%

Clarity credit card is free.

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Debit card is 2.99%

Credit card is 2.99%

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Debit card 2.75% ‘non-sterling transaction fee’

Debit cards for cash withdrawals is 2%.

Credit card fee is 2.99% and cash fee is 2.99%

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Some banks offer fee free when using bank cards aboard

There are some new and emerging banks that are offering fee free current accounts that do not charge for using cards in Europe such as Starling Bank, Metro Bank and Virgin Money. Banks such as Starling Bank are attempting to reinvent the banking sector and one of the major differences is the way the charge customers for products and services.

A typical debit card charges £11.88* when consumers withdraw £250 in cash abroad, while some credit cards can charge £14.95** before interest is applied. Purchases can be costly too, for just a £50 spend a typical debit card can charge £1.38* and a credit card can charge £1.50**.

Customers who don’t want to move their bank account and prefer using a credit card can find a few fee-free options, including a deal from Halifax Clarity Credit Card Mastercard.

Top debit cards for use abroad selection

Below is some data on the top 6 banks that off fee-free accounts or discounted accounts for those travelling abroad.

Costs of using bank cards abroad

Top credit cards for use abroad selection

Below is a table showing the top credit cards for using abroad. There are credit cards designed for travellers that incur no transaction fees.

Cost of using bank cards abroad

Rachel Springall, Finance Expert at, said:

“Consumers may well be overdue a break abroad and decide a last-minute getaway after months of unpredictability due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Some holiday destinations may be more expensive to explore and consumers will need to be savvy and perhaps make a budget for their last-minute trip to avoid an impulsive splurge they may regret later. Using a credit card or debit card abroad may be the easiest way to pay or withdraw cash, but it’s a convenience that can cost depending on the fees charged for each transaction.

“Switching a bank account is simple and using the Current Account Switcher Service, customers can move their account within seven working days. If consumers plan to travel more frequently in the months to come, either for work or leisure, choosing a current account that will not charge for using their debit card abroad could be a wise choice. Starling Bank, Metro Bank and Virgin Money all offer fee-free current accounts which do not charge in Europe for using a debit card, either for a cash withdrawal or retail transaction. However, a typical debit card charges £11.88 when consumers withdraw £250 in cash abroad and £1.38 for an in-store purchase of £50.

“Consumers may prefer to use a credit card for spending abroad, which is understandable as they can easily be cancelled if lost or stolen and spenders are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act on purchases between £100 and £30,000 if a service or goods are not provided or damaged. Carrying around cash might be convenient but it is clear to see how quickly a holiday can become a disaster should someone’s hard-earned cash be lost or stolen and getting cash last minute at an airport is unwise due to poorer exchange rates.

“Holidaymakers may be concerned about the cost of their trip as it is expected to rise. Saving money on card usage fees is, therefore, a sensible thing to do and consumers can easily do this by bringing along a cost-effective credit or debit card or even consider a prepaid card. Planning an itinerary on what to do whilst abroad may be routine but so should be setting a budget in light of how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the cost of a holiday.”

*Typical debit card example is the HSBC Bank Account, on cash withdrawals, it charges a transaction fee of 2.00% (min £1.75, max £5) and a conversion fee of 2.75% and on purchases, this card charges a conversion fee of 2.75%.

**Typical credit card example is the HSBC Rewards Credit Card Mastercard, on cash withdrawals it charges a 2.99% usage fee and a 2.99% / £3.00 cash withdrawal fee and on purchases this card charges a usage fee of 2.99%.

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