Can anyone inform us how widely travellers cheques are accepted in Central America (all countries)? We're not concerned if this involves lengthy waits, simply if there are exchange offices/banks that will take them. Of course most dealings with money are now performed via ATMs. However, it seems most (all?) debit/credit cards now have various fees attached for cash withdrawls (commissions/currency conversion fees). Can someone please recommend a UK-based card (account) that minimizes/eliminates these added costs? Years ago the Nationwide BS had the go to debit card (totally free for all foreign withdrawls - this is certainly not the case now with 2% commission, plus 1 pound for any withdrawl). Any information will be gratefully received. Many thanks A&A.
In response to: Msg #204859
Hi, I am yet to find a UK bank account or card that doesn't charge for withdrawals. We have used the pre paid post office card before which worked well but you need wifi to be able to top it up and I can't remember if it has a charge.
Yes, we've looked into these as well. I believe they work quite well for certain countries (currencies) but also carry costs for those not included. Indeed for non-listed countries they work out more expensive than most standard debit/credit cards.... Thanks for the suggestion though. Andy
I can't comment about the UK, but here in the US travelers checks have a currency conversion rate worse than those of the interbank rate used for ATM cards, plus they have fees attached also 😞 I suspect bank cards will save money in the long run.
In the past I used Traveller checks but I don't get them any more at my bank. So I go with two credit cards and try to store them in two different bags or on my body. But I had problems in Morocco where they were not accepted so I was forced to use cash in higher amounts which I really didn't like. As my home currency is EUR and previously DEM I also took some USD with me when travelling to Asia as sometimes DEM where not accepted.
If you're okay with credit cards, as opposed to debit cards, the best card you can get in the UK for foreign travel is the Halifax Clarity Card.
There are no fees charged by the Halifax at all for withdrawing at ATM's, unless the bank in the country itself imposes them. This is the case for Thailand, which I think now stands at about 200 baht (~4.50-5) per withdrawal and as I recently found out in Jordan, it's 5 JOD (~£5).
The only charges incurred using this card, is the interest you pay on the amount you withdraw from the moment you withdraw it. if you service the account online though, you can pay it off as soon as it's come off the card. This is what we did travelling long term, paying off the balance every few days and we ended up paying ~£5 a month in interest. If you pay for items using the card, you pay nothing at all, not even interest.
Of course, the Mastercard exchange rate is much more favourable, than any rate you would get in a money changer, bank or god forbid an airport.
We also have a Santander Zero card, but I'm not sure they're available anymore. They operate in exactly the same way, so we use the Clarity card for withdrawals and the Zero card for paying for things (hotels, activities, groceries, anywhere that accepts MC) etc... then just pay off the Zero card in full every month by DD, incurring no costs at all.
Also the beauty of these cards is you can use them when you're in the UK to pay for anything abroad in a foreign currency with no charges. Pretty much everywhere accepts Mastercard nowadays... I'm organising our trip to s. Africa in a couple of months and they are invaluable for that.
Thanks for that. Yep, had spotted the Halifax card. This all just leaves us so peeved: the world is so much more computer friendly than is years gone by and yet the banks seem to be the polar opposite and are simply charging more than ever: Kinda depressing... Ho hum... Thanks again for your input. Andy