Many people will be getting ready to go away for the Easter holidays, but those who are planning a trip abroad should beware the cost of using their debit and credit cards in a foreign country, industry experts have warned.
Most credit cards
implement a fee when used abroad, some as much as 2.99 per cent of the purchase or transaction, according to Michelle Slade of Moneyfacts.co.uk, which is applied each time the card is used and can soon mount up.
There are now very few credit card companies
which offer fee-free foreign transactions, Moneyfacts' research has revealed, with Nationwide Building Society ending its rare no-fee policy in May this year.
The Post Office credit card
is one of the few remaining on the market which does not charge for using it abroad, either in the EU or worldwide.
But withdrawing cash using a credit card in a foreign country is even more expensive, Ms Slade continues: "Taking cash out on your credit card is never advisable even in the UK. Not only is the interest rate much higher than on purchases but you will be charged the interest from day one," she said.
And, except with a Post Office credit card
, she added, "you will be charged a cash handling fee as well as the foreign usage charge if the cash is taken out abroad.
"Customers taking out cash need to be aware of the minimum charge. If you withdraw lots of small amounts you will be hardest hit." Ms Slade recommends that "It may be worth planning ahead for your financial requirements a few days at a time."
Research from uSwitch.com has found that overseas charge cards could add up to as much as £754million in 2009, a six per cent on last year's figures as result of more banks charging for using their plastic abroad. Compare credit cards »
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