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Updates on Credit/Debit cards for travelling.

MoneySavingExpert have updated their travel money section. Are their suggestions the best?
10 years ago, February 16th 2011 No: 1 Msg: #129212  
Hello All

Martin Lewis has updated his travel money section on his web site.


He claims that the Halifax Clarity credit card and the Norwich & Peterborough BS debit card are the best currently available. I plan on getting both these cards for my trip (I already have Nationwide as a back up). Have any of you got these cards and if so, whats you opinion on them?

Thanks Reply to this

10 years ago, February 16th 2011 No: 2 Msg: #129216  
We are using Nationwide. The rates are great but the customer service is awfull.

We are in a situ now where our account has been suspeneded. When we called to ask why, they said it was because mail bounced back.

Before we left we informed them we were travelling and changed our address specifically to negate this very event. They say they have no record of this.

Funny thing was, the security q they asked when we called was "what is your address". Funny how the NEW address we gave them was accepted.

Anyway, they said they could NOT reactivate our account immediately, the only way was for us to change our address on line.

So, we go online and, guess what? This is not possible. Only way is to download, print and mail a form! We'd end up getting home before the letter.

Cant call again now as this is small town and all is shut and there is no mobile reception in the mountains of Sulawesi!

We are basically stuck with NO money and a bank who could not give a duck. This will be taken much further.

Will keep you posted, if anyone cares at all! Just feels good to rant as someone other than my poor girlfriend.

So, would NOT reccommend Nationwide at all! Reply to this

10 years ago, February 16th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #129223  
N Posts: 36
I always take martin lewis's advice, but it might also be worth mentioning here that holiday makers are being fleeced, albeit in a small way, when paying for goods and services abroad. Increasing people paying for goods and services abroad are being charged in their 'home currency' rather than the local currency. This is a sneaky way of imposing a less than advantageous exchange rate at point of sale.

We were caught this way recently when a thomas cook rep replied to me that they were indeed charging me in euros (in spain) because to charge me in pounds sterling would be much more expensive! Silly me didn't notice on the receipt small print she gave me, that they had indeed charged me in pounds sterling at a poorer rate than my credit card company rate for an expensive tour. What a cheek! Reply to this

10 years ago, February 16th 2011 No: 4 Msg: #129228  
Funnily enough that is exactly what I have spent the last 1/2 hour looking into on Martin's site (although I should be working!) and I intend to get a Halifax card too. The site also tells you where to go to pick up the best currency rates (as in hard cash).

I also read that if you are in Europe and get given the option to spend in £££'s or Euros def go for Euros (how annoying they ripped you off you should complain)

To ScottandDanny I feel for you and happy to hear your rant can they not wire money over via Western Union? Alternatively give you password to your folks and see if they can sort something out for you. I will never bank with Nationwide if that makes you feel any better!! Reply to this

10 years ago, February 16th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #129229  
When I opened my account with Nationwide, i intended to switch to them and use them as my main bank. I made an appointment with them to open an account and get advice on ISA's. I didn't understand a word of it and I got knocked back for the account at first. Eventually they got me the account, after about 2 weeks though. I made another appointment with Bank of Scotland and what a difference. Really good customer service, easy to understand and friendly.

I use them as my main bank now but kept the Nationwide account open, purely for the card. Now that Nationwide charge 1% for withdrawls outside Europe, its not as good as it once was but I'll prob use it as my back up bank while on our trip because 1% is still better than most. Reply to this

10 years ago, February 16th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #129256  
I spent hours upon hours trawling through credit and debit card sites and i got so exasperated with the whole thing. I looked at alot of banks and compared their so called benefits , i even tried to read the gobbly gook small print but to no avail ( its another language to me lol!!!Some Banks excluded me because i didn't earn over 20 to 30 grand per annum, i thought i may sort of exaggerate my Income but my friend told me its classed as fraudulent so i didn't bother. to be honest i learned alot about how banks rip you off and it was such a big eye opener.

Nationwide would of been my second choice but NORWICH AND PETERBOROUGH is a really good deal. Infact the application form arrived today so i will going with them. just a few simple rules..1) you have to deposit the minimum of £500 a month into the bank account or you will be charged £5.00 2) if you go into your authorised overdraft then you will be charged £5 and if you go over your overdraft you will be charged a million pounds ( well if the banks had their way they would ;-)

I also sent off my credit card agreement with halifax clarity credit card ( Mastercard ) which is the best credit at the moment for overseas transaction. Im just looking for a visa credit card now. I read in a forum that its best to have a Visa, mastercard and debit card to incase thr atm in a country does not accept either one

Reply to this

10 years ago, February 16th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #129257  
Also one more thing MONEYSAVINGEXPERT undoubtedly rocks in my opinion. very reliable advice and i refer to this site many times. Reply to this

10 years ago, February 17th 2011 No: 8 Msg: #129279  
We got a Nationwide account when it was free for overseas withdrawals, but I have to agree about their service. We had a credit card with them and repeatedly got charged interest when there was no money on it at all. We got so annoyed with having to call them and sort it out that Kris asked to cancel it. This is a credit card from a joint bank account, but they said I had to cancel it because I had opened the account (in both our names). Rediculous.

Now we are constantly charged an unauthorised overdraft fee because they keep changing our agreed overdraft without telling us.

I'm not sure it's worth it. Reply to this

10 years ago, February 17th 2011 No: 9 Msg: #129341  
We used a Nationwide Flex-account while it was all free with absolutely no problems at all, the same with their gold credit card... BUT, now it's not free I cancelled them! 😊

I'm currently packing a Halifax clarity credit card for withdrawals, and a Santander Zero credit card if we get stuck (both recommended by Martin Lewis, THE man when it comes to saving), we'll also have some other cards for real emergencies, but they will take the shirt off my back in commission if we use them so they're a real last resort !

I'll start using it at the beginning of next month so will let you know how I get on... I've done the sums though and although not free like Nationwide was it seems like a really good deal...
Reply to this

10 years ago, February 17th 2011 No: 10 Msg: #129342  
N Posts: 36
I never buy a travel insurance, car insurance or head off on a trip without consulting moneysavingexpert.com. you are right, it rocks! Plus if I click through and buy flights or insurance from that site, then they hopefully will get some small income from my purchase. I guess thats the way they help fund the site and stay independent. Its hard to find independent advice these days! Reply to this

10 years ago, February 17th 2011 No: 11 Msg: #129351  
Michael & Faye. I thought the one thing the Halifax Clarity card charged for was withdrawals, would you not be better off using a Nationwide card, as their fee is only 1% compared to being charged interest on withdrawals with the Halifax Clarity card, even if you pay it off in full straight away? I am not sure how that works either to be honest. How can they charge you interest (12.9% if you are lucky) on a balance of zero? Reply to this

10 years ago, February 18th 2011 No: 12 Msg: #129359  
They shouldn't. However, it was something to do with the timings of interest being added and payments being taken out. We paid it off in full, but the payment date was after the date that they calculated the next month's payment. So they added interest to the payment before we paid it off, which since we didn't know about it, we didn't add to the payment. So we then had interest on another month's interest. Or something like that.


Reply to this

10 years ago, February 18th 2011 No: 13 Msg: #129364  
I had wondered the same thing myself in relation to interest on cash withdrawals + £1 and resolved to call them to clarify. It must be ok though as Martin wouldn't say it's the best card (for now)

Ps to the above comment you should think twice before travelling without insurance. I had thought maybe it wasn't worth it but if anything goes wrong you most certainly will want to get home to your family and not be paying for it for the rest of your life! Reply to this

10 years ago, February 18th 2011 No: 14 Msg: #129365  

would you not be better off using a Nationwide card, as their fee is only 1%!c(MISSING)ompared to being charged interest on withdrawals with the Halifax Clarity card

Sadly not even this is true any more... there was a lot of publicity surrounding their rise to 1%!f(MISSING)rom nothing (but still free in Europe) but when they changed everything to 2%!c(MISSING)ommission +£1 for every withdrawal, it slipped under the radar... Check here:

Nationwide charges for foreign transactions

So for example... say you withdrew £1000 in five £200 withdrawals (about the limit for most cash machines, but some are much less) you end up paying £2 +£1 for each withdrawal... so £15 for each £1000. Not too bad, but then some foreign machines stick their own charges on top, which you can't get out of. for example Thailand now charges 50 baht for each withdrawal, which is about another £1.

With the Clarity Card, worse case scenario you withdraw £1000 in one hit (which you can't) pay it off after a month, over a month you'll pay about a tenner in interest (12.9%!A(MISSING)PR) but of course you won't withdraw £1000 in one go, you do it gradually over the month, so it will be less. OK, you're not saving hundreds of pounds but every little helps (to quote a popular mega supermarket in the UK)...

Oh, I'm pretty savvy when it comes to finances but don't take my word as gospel, do your homework... I'll let you know over the coming months how I get on with the Clarity Card. <---- my get out clause as I'm not a financial advisor in anyway. 😊

Mike Reply to this

10 years ago, February 18th 2011 No: 15 Msg: #129367  
OMG. I cannot believe I didn't know this. I have an account with them and I do not remember getting anything in the mail telling me about these changes but I do remember getting the letter explaining the 1% charge. How can a building society have the front to have such a huge advertising campaign taking the mick out of other banks by telling us these charges where so they could have a good xmas party etc and then go back to charging that money like they never said it!

I noticed that Martin Lewis no longer had this card on his site and I thought it was strange. This will be why. I will close that account this weekend. Thanks for letting me know.

Mike, have you not considered Norwich & Peterborough BS? Reply to this

10 years ago, February 18th 2011 No: 16 Msg: #129376  
We are still with Nationwide, but are in the process of opening up a Santander Zero account (we can't get any other account due to not living in the UK and as we already have a Santander account it makes it easier) so we can get the free withdrawals. As Mike says the withdrawal fees on Nationwide are now 2% plus £1 per cash withdrawal and by the way, it's 150 baht charge in Thailand to withdraw from an ATM, not 50 baht, so it's £3 extra!!

My parents have taken out a Halifax Clarity and have opened an account with Norwich and Peterborough - just be aware of the small print with N&P as my Mum told me the other day the maximum you can withdraw in one go is £250 (most other banks it's £300) and that if you transfer money to your N&P account, it takes about 5 days as they aren't part of the 'fast pay' bank system which clears payments instantaneously. N&P were also very, very slow in opening their account and completely messed up their direct debits which my parents weren't too happy about!

We have had a few issues with Nationwide but nothing like Scottandanny - when our cards were stolen last year, they forgot to cancel one of them...pretty bad - we were just lucky we were in a place where the thief didn't have a clue what he could do with the card! Reply to this

10 years ago, February 18th 2011 No: 17 Msg: #129404  

it's 150 baht charge in Thailand to withdraw from an ATM, not 50 baht, so it's £3 extra!!

Oh jeez that's right... I think the pain of all those charges has made me forget! 😊 it was actually that last trip to Thailand that made me realise that Nationwide don't charge 1%!a(MISSING)nymore... I certainly don't remember getting any communication through the post about it.

With regards to the Clarity card, my friend and I were talking today and wondered if it would be possible to pay it off without waiting for the statement. So paying it off say, weekly rather than monthly, reducing the balance and thus the interest charges. It's all facilitated online so it may be possible. Will give it a try and let you know how I get on... Reply to this

10 years ago, February 19th 2011 No: 18 Msg: #129426  
Hahaha, yes those charges are painful! When we were in Thailand at Christmas we got the max we could from the ATM (12,000 baht, about £250) this withdrawal cost us £3 in fees from the Thai bank and £6 from Nationwide fees...so that's £9 in total fees...yes we almost cried!

Mike, just give Halifax Clarity a call - my Mum said they are super helpful on the phone and they will let you know if it's possible. I think it is possible from what I've read. Reply to this

10 years ago, February 20th 2011 No: 19 Msg: #129504  
Oh, if anyones interested, my latest blog deals with my banking issues in a little more detail. Warning though, it is a tad long!! Reply to this

10 years ago, February 20th 2011 No: 20 Msg: #129509  
I rang them and if you get a standing order set up to transfer cash the same or next day then you will only be charged interest for the time in-between ie pennies. Interest rate you get dependant on your credit rating so £1 for 12.5% and about £1.80 for 21.5%

So if you're only the ball with your finances you should pay virtually nothing for cash withdrawal - result! :-) Reply to this

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