The Best Banking Cards and Apps for Holiday Spending

We have compared the different ways to spend money abroad, highlighting the withdrawal, purchase and transaction fees when using debit cards, credit cards, prepaid travel cards and online banking apps abroad with companies such as Barclays, HSBC, Virgin and Monzo.

cash free on airlines

Travellers using debit cards should be careful when withdrawing money from cash machines abroad as fees can range from 0% with Metrobank and Nationwide, up to 2.95% and 2.99% on each withdrawal with Santander and Barclays respectively. For credit card users, this can increase to an eye-watering 5% with Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds Bank. When making purchases on a debit or credit card abroad, users should also remember the card issuer is likely to charge both a transaction fee of the purchase price and a percentage of the purchase price to convert to the foreign currency. This can range from 0% to 2.99%, depending on the bank and card payment processor such as Mastercard or Visa.

App-based mobile banks, such as Monzo and Revolut, offer fee-free purchases and no fees for withdrawing cash at an ATM in a foreign currency. However, some stipulations do apply such as the free overseas ATM withdrawals are limited to £200 over a 30-day period and then a 3% fee with Monzo and a 2% fee with Revolut is charged thereafter.

For holidaymakers looking to stick to a holiday budget, prepaid travel cards such as Cannyapp and the Post Office Travel Money card were found to be cost-saving options. These cards are not linked to a bank account and can be loaded with a currency before travelling, as well as having no charges when spending abroad in a local currency supported by the card. Some prepaid travel card companies also offer cashback to customers with the Cannyapp Prepaid Mastercard offering 3% cashback on all overseas purchases.


Debit Cards

BANK/PROVIDERNON-STERLING CASH WITHDRAWAL FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING PURCHASE FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE – WORLDWIDECOST OF PHYSICAL CARDMONTHLY ACCOUNT FEEEXCHANGE LOAD
DEBIT CARDS
Bank of Scotland Debit Card£1.50£0.502.95%£0£02.99%
Barclays Bank Debit Card2.99%2.99%2.99%£0N/A2.99%
Halifax Debit Card£1.50£0.502.99%N/AN/A2.99%
HSBC Bank Debit Card*2.75%2.75%2.75%N/AN/A2.75%
Lloyds Bank Visa Debit Card*£1.50£0.502.99%£0£02.99%
Metrobank Debit Card0% free2.99%2.99% (£2.99)N/AN/A2.99%
Nationwide Debit Card2.99%2.99%2.99%N/AN/A0%
Nationwide Flex Account & Flex Direct Debit0%0%2.99%N/AN/A2.99%
NatWest Debit Card2.75%0%2.75%N/AN/A2.75%
Santander Debit Card2.95%2.95%2.95%N/A£00%
TSB Debit Card1.5% (min £2 – max £4.50)£12.75%N/AN/A2.99%


Credit Cards

BANK/PROVIDERNON-STERLING CASH WITHDRAWAL FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING PURCHASE FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE – WORLDWIDECOST OF PHYSICAL CARDMONTHLY ACCOUNT FEEEXCHANGE LOAD 
CREDIT CARDS
Bank of Scotland Credit Card5%£0.502.99%£0£02.95% 
Barclays Bank Credit Card0%2.99%2.99%£0N/A2.99% 
Halifax Clarity Credit Card0%0%0%N/AN/A0% 
Halifax Credit Card5%0%2.95%N/AN/A0% 
HSBC Bank Credit Card2.99%2.99%2.99%N/AN/A2.99% 
Lloyds Bank Credit Card5%0%2.95%£0£02.95% 
Metrobank Credit Card£1.502.99%2.99% (£2.99)N/AN/A2.99% 
Nationwide Credit Card2.5%0%0%N/AN/A2.99% 
NatWest Credit Card3%0%0%N/AN/A2.75% 
Santander Credit Card2.95%2.95%0/2.95% (depending on type of Credit Card)N/A£02.95% 
TSB Credit Card3% (min £3)0%2.95%N/AN/A2.99% 


Travel Debit Cards

BANK/PROVIDERNON-STERLING CASH WITHDRAWAL FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING PURCHASE FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE – WORLDWIDECOST OF PHYSICAL CARDMONTHLY ACCOUNT FEEEXCHANGE LOAD 
TRAVEL DEBIT CARDS
Chase Bank Mastercard0%0%3%N/AN/A0% 
Virgin Money Mastercard0%0%2.99%N/AN/A0% 


Travel Credit Cards

BANK/PROVIDERNON-STERLING CASH WITHDRAWAL FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING PURCHASE FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE – WORLDWIDECOST OF PHYSICAL CARDMONTHLY ACCOUNT FEEEXCHANGE LOAD 
TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
Barclaycard Platinum Travel0%0%2.99%£0N/A0% 


Pre Paid Cards

BANK/PROVIDERNON-STERLING CASH WITHDRAWAL FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING PURCHASE FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE – WORLDWIDECOST OF PHYSICAL CARDMONTHLY ACCOUNT FEEEXCHANGE LOAD 
PRE PAID CARDS
Cannyapp*0%0%0%N/AN/A0% 
EasyFX*0%0%0%First card order minimum deposit £50  £0 Monthly management fee   Card dormancy – monthly fee (Applied if no card activity over the last 12 months) £20% 
Post office travel money card*0%0%0%0%No fee for 12 months – £2 fee monthly0% 
Wise*No fee on 2 x withdrawals of up to £200 each monthAfter that, a charge of £0.5 per withdrawal1.75% fee on any amount withdrawn above £2000%0%    Physical card: £5Digital card: £0Optional express delivery in 1-2 days: £17  £00% 


Banking Apps

BANK/PROVIDERNON-STERLING CASH WITHDRAWAL FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING PURCHASE FEE – WORLDWIDENON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE – WORLDWIDECOST OF PHYSICAL CARDMONTHLY ACCOUNT FEEEXCHANGE LOAD 
BANKING APPS
Monzo*0%0%0%£0 (Card replacement = £5)£00% 
Revolut*0%/2%0%0.5% if £1,000 spending a month is exceededFirst card freeN/A0% 
Starling Bank Mastercard0%0%0%£00%0% 


*Additional Information:

HSBC Bank Debit Card: Only for HSBC Premier Account (including HSBC Jade) and HSBC Premier My account. For other accounts, additional fee of 2% (minimum of £1.75, maximum of £5.00) 

Lloyds Banks Visa Debit Card: Withdrawals of Euro inside the EEA will not be charged a foreign cash fee. 

Cannyapp: Card cannot be used at self-service petrol pumps. You can use your card to pay for petrol by taking it to the cashier.  3% cashback 

EasyFX: Account funding of at least £50 is required to confirm my card order. To purchase a card replacement fee, damaged/lost/stolen or an additional Card = £6 

Post Office Travel Money Card: No charges when you spend abroad using an available balance of a local currency supported by the card 

Wise: Card replacement fee: £3 Replacing expired card: £0 

Monzo: If you use Monzo as your main bank account, or have Monzo Plus or Monzo Premium, withdrawals are fee-free. If not, will be charged 3% on withdrawals over £250 every 30 days 

Revolut: Withdraw up to £200 (or currency equivalent) from an ATM for free per calendar month, after which we charge a small 2% fee 

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