Hi there, does anyone have any tips on which bank to use when travelling?
I've heard Nationwide are good as they don't charge for w/d or debit transactions. Altho they do charge you £100 to open the account.
Any suggestions/comments would be gratefully received!
I just kept my own bank accounts that I was already using at home - and just budgeted in for transaction and exchange rate costs because it was easier - I wouldn't say carry huge amounts of cash on you all the time, but take out enough to cover you for days at a time so you're not withdrawing cash so often. what I think would be useful would be to research which banks will arrange to courier out to you replacement cards incase yours get lost or stolen - I'm not sure which ones do that but I know some do, and that's obviously really useful - my own bank (co-op) didn't, which meant I had to get a replacement card sent to my friend back home and then she sent it out to a poste restante for me. But a friend of mine lost his card in Guatemala and his bank sent him out a card via courier 3 days later.
Nationwide is good as it´s true they don´t charge. Are you sure it´s 100 pounds to open it, I think it might just be you have to open it with a 100 in it (which you would need there for your travels anyway!) I certainly don´t remember being charged anything.
Thanks ladies, v useful.
I think you are right Katherine about N'wide - altho the lady in the branch did tell me it would 'cost' me £100 to open it . Maybe it was her fee or she was just trying to put me off!! :-)
Hands down...HSBC takes the cake as far as bank accounts go. You can open up an international bank account and have access to tellers,offices, and atms pretty much worldwide. The only downfall is if you want access to a teller or agent in some countries (the list is quite small, but some major countries are included i.e Japan) you need to have a premier account which has a minimum balance of 2 Million USD.
Citibank is also a good choice.
NAtionwide for travelling. No exchange charges on the card.
It's free to open.
just opened a Nationwide account myself yesterday and yes it is free to open.
I am not sure if this will work the same in Britain but it wouldn't hurt to check anyway.
I use my credit union DEBIT card overseas. It is affiliated with MasterCard and I have had no problems using it in Thailand, Philippines and Hong Kong and in the U.S. of course. I expect that it will work in any ATM that has a MasterCard logo on it.
What is good about this account is that this credit union also pays for my ATM withdrawals even OVERSEAS! The limit for overseas withdrawals is no more than 5 per month - for Thailand that is at least 50,000 baht (5 - 10,000 baht withdrawals) or just over $1500 U.S. After the 5 free ATM withdrawals the fee is around $2.00 per withdrawal. I take out the maximum amount when I make withdrawals to cut down on any fees for small amounts. When the first of the month comes around again I get another 5 free ATM withdrawals. This could work out to 10 free ATM withdrawals during a 30 day period!
I don't use my debit (or credit cards) for any cheap price purchases such as in restaurants or stores - I pay in cash to cut down on any chance of fraud.
For safety reasons I don't put all of my spare money in that account. Sometimes I set up a PayPal transfer at a certain future date when I expect to need more money. Or, I can access my primary bank account using the internet and transfer more money to my credit union debit card account.
I have used this method for over 5 years with no problems. My bank debit cards with Visa and MasterCard also work overseas but the ATM charges I would have to pay are pretty high, that's why I prefer the credit union account.
Another advantage of the credit union account, besides getting more interest than my bank, is that they will also sell me travelers checks without any charge. The travelers checks are American Express and I have not had much of a problem cashing them in.
No annual fees either of course! Other credit unions in the U.S. do the same - but not all! I have friends that have retired overseas in Asia and rely solely on ATM withdrawals from their credit union accounts.
Currently travelling in South America for a year.
My Nationwide FlexAccount is the best as I don´t get charged for withdrawals, the exchange rates they use seem reasonable and the card works in most ATMs.
I also have a Lloyds and Halifax account with VISA cards in case Nationwide doesn´t work.
Also, Nationwide helpdesk is generally quick to get through to if you need to call with a query.
And use your Internet Banking to keep track of your money and to move it from savings accounts into current accounts, etc. All very easy.
Ta for the recent entries. I have decided to use my existing bank (lloyds) for withdrawals as it is £1 per transaction which, altho it's a fleece, should only amount to bout £25 for my trip. I thought it wasn't worth the hassle of opening a new account for this. I have however applied for a nationwide credit card. The credit card, like the bank account, doesn't charge for using abroad whereas my existing ones do (3 percent). So I will manage btwn the two.
thanks everyone for your input!