Going on holiday can be an expensive experience, Spend the wrong way abroad, and you could be wasting ££s every time you shop. Specialist cards allow you to get perfect rates every time you spend overseas. But it’s not just having the right card. There are a host of other tools, tips and tricks that we’ve designed to help you get the most bang for your buck. Here are our top holiday cash saving tips…
1. Don’t buy your foreign currency at the airport
You are likely to get a poor exchange rate and a high commission charge if you buy your foreign currency at the airport.
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2. Choose a cheap credit card
Most cards charge a foreign currency charge of between 2.75 per cent and 2.99 per cent every time you use them abroad. So when you spend £100, you’ll be charged £103. This charge won’t show up on your statement, because the card issuers take it by manipulating the exchange rate.
3. Don’t draw cash on your credit card
Almost every credit card will hit you with 3 charges for withdrawing cash. There will be the hidden foreign currency charge, a cash withdrawal charge that may be as high as 2.99 per cent (with American Express) and interest from the day you make the withdrawal, which could be more than 30%.
Overall, withdrawing £100 in foreign currency can cost you almost £106 with the most expensive cards such as HSBC and American Express – and you’ll be charged interest from the day of the withdrawal. Once the interest is added, your bill could rise to more than £110.
4. Don’t let shops convert currency
Some shops, restaurants and cash machines in southern European countries will offer to convert your euros into sterling. Don’t let them, because you will be given a very poor exchange rate.
5. Tell your bank before you go
Banks are becoming cautious about overseas credit and debit card activity. You should tell your bank about your travel plans to avoid your card being stopped by the bank.
‘We hear of cases where people’s cards are blocked, even when they have told their bank that they’re heading off on holiday,’ says Mark Bowerman, spokesman for the UK Cards Association.
‘Before going away, make sure the bank has a 24-hour contact number for you and you have a 24-hour number for them so you can get in touch if you run into problems, and they can release the block on your card as quickly as possible.’
You can download a free online guide offering advice to people using debit and credit cards abroad this summer from the website www.theukcardsassociation.org.uk