I'm a credit card virgin - Mum always said if you don't have the cash, you don't get a credit card Anyways im getting one to take with me when I go travelling to help with hotels etc and wondered if anyone could advise on the best one to get. Some people say they're all as bad as eachother? Oh and im currently banking with HSBC.
I'm no expert on UK cards so take this with a grain of salt, but I believe the Post Office Card is one of the very few remaining UK cards that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.
Hi there. I've been looking into this myself for my up coming trip and i've applied for a halifax clarity card. It has no foriegn exchange fee anywhere in the world and it doesnt charge a fee for cash withdrawals. Hope this helps
Thanks for the suggestions
April - another friend also recommended Halifax so I'll go see them today.
Not sure what country you're in but I'm in Australia and just got GE's 23 Degrees Mastercard, which has no international transaction fees.
I'm in the UK at the mo - went with a Halifax Clarity card. Seems to be the best one to get as it doesn't charge you when you use it abroad as long as it's just used to pay for purchases (chip and pin). If it's used to withdraw out cash at a cash point it then charges you interest - not so much if you're already a Halifax customer, but a lot if like me you don't bank with Halifax.
I quite like the idea of the pre-paid cards, but so far have only come across cards that work with euro, pound, dollar currency. Maybe I'll get one of these for when I get to Oz
Check me out! That's what 'which' and 'moneysupermarket' sites do to you
There is usually a confusion between debit and credit cards.
Both can be MasterCard or Visa - in terms of availability and acceptance, there is not much difference.
Debit Card is when you have your own money on the account. Transaction fees for withdrawal can largely vary from bank to bank. Some may not charge you for cash withdrawal, however before you decide you need to take into account monthly fees, availability and cost of online banking and other charges.
Credit Card is when the bank lends you money that you can use. There is always a fee for cash withdrawal, which is higher than for debit cards. Also, on credit cards there is usually a grace period (let's say 30-60 days) when the bank doesn't charge you interest if you repay the used amount within this grace period. However, the trick that many if not most banks use is that once you withdraw cash with your credit card, the bank will charge you interest from the first use for the whole of the grace period!
Online payments and other purchases by either Credit or Debit card are always free of charge.
For both Credit and Debit cards, the currency exchange is near mid-rate set by the MasterCard or Visa. I think visa uses US$ and MasterCard uses EUR as a base currency for conversion. So, thus it doesn't make much difference if you have GBP and have to decide between Visa or Mastercard. Anyway, the loss on currency conversion is not that high compared to withdrawal fees.
For security (in case of theft or losing your card):
- Debit Card: best is to set a daily limit for cash withdrawals and card purchases (some banks allow you to set limit for online purchase too, but not all). You can consider opening a higher interest paying account or deposit your money and leave on the account linked to the card only an amount that you need for a certain period of time. You will have to check how much these transfers between interest paying account / deposits and the card account will costs you.
- Credit Card: you can set a limit similarly to the debit based card. However, you have no more control over the money, so in case you loose your card, you need to inform the bank immediately to block your card.
In case of both cards, you will need to inform you bank that you are going to travel to make sure that they don't block your card abroad.
The above may sound a bit technical and too much banking stuff... but these are the things you will need to know before you choose your card.
Hope it helped. Happy travels!
One more thing - debit card can be either:
- in "common language" cash card, where the card number on the card is not embossed (just graved into the card, ie flat numbers when you touch it... ), this type of card can not be used for online purchases.
- the embossed card - (where the letters of the card number are not flat), which is exactly the same in terms of acceptance and a credit card, so you can use it for online purchases.
So, unless you want to use/borrow the bank's money: my recommendation would be to get an embossed debit card!
(trust me - even in the bank branch most salespeople don't understand this or/and not very knowledgable.. - so you may have to guide them a bit
HSBC is also a good bank but i think Visa/Mastercard would be the best credit card you'll get. I think it is because it is more used worldwide. There are a lot of stores accepting it. But HSBC is good enough.
I got a Caxton FX pre-paid card and its been great so far, if you get the worldwide one then its not in pounds, euros, dollars etc - you just top up in pounds and it does the rest for you. Some ATMs charge a fee but it depends on the country.