Money Wellness
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calendar icon11 Jul 2023

The best debit cards to take abroad

According to Jet2, package holidays are becoming increasingly popular, as Brits opt for certainty on spending in the face of the cost-of-living crisis. One easily overlooked cost when you’re abroad is using your debit card. You’re generally looking at 2% to 3% in conversion fees on every purchase you make in a foreign currency. Then there are additional charges if you withdraw cash from an ATM.

So which debit cards will help you keep your costs under control when you go abroad this summer?

First Direct

When you were abroad, First Direct used to charge a 2.75% conversion fee every time you used your card to buy something or withdraw cash. On top of this, you’d have to shell out an additional 2% (£1.75 minimum and £5 maximum) for drawing out money at an ATM.

All these fees have now been scrapped. You’ll get the Mastercard exchange rate and you can withdraw as much as £500 a day from ATMs without charge.

Starling Bank

The Starling Bank current account is free. When you use the debit card abroad, you’ll get the Mastercard exchange rate and you won’t be charged for ATM withdrawals of up to £300 a day.

Chase

Another free option is the Chase current account. It uses the Mastercard exchange rate and you get 1% cashback on purchases at home and overseas for the first 12 months. You can withdraw £500 a day from ATMs abroad without being charged. There is a total limit of £1,500 on cash withdrawals in a single calendar month though.

Monzo

Again, Monzo’s current account is free and there are no fees for making purchases abroad. It uses the Mastercard exchange rate.

If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM on holiday using this card, it’s a good idea to try and limit yourself to £250 in Europe (£200 outside Europe). There’ll be no charge if you do this. But withdrawals of more than this in any 30-day period are charged at 3%.

Virgin Money

The debit card for Virgin’s M Plus free current account doesn’t charge fees if you use it abroad. The account also offers 2.02% AER interest on balances of up to £1,000.

Kroo Bank

This is another free current account. And there are no fees for spending or withdrawing cash with the linked Kroo debit card when you’re abroad.

Cumberland Building Society

The Cumberland Plus current account is free providing you pay in £750 a month. There are no fees for debit card payments in a foreign currency or cash withdrawals from an ATM abroad.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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