Friday, May 4, 2007

Credit Card Machines 802

Hidden Fees for British Holidaymakers Using Credit Cards by Alison White

Almost half of British holidaymakers plan to use their credit card to shop abroad, according to a recent Post Office warning.

According to, the price comparison site, UK holidaying consumers using cards abroad will be charged a total of £355 million this summer, just for using their credit cards in foreign shops or withdrawing money from cash machines overseas. Banks and card companies have raised charges to compensate for the money they have lost on penalty fees.

Financial Product Manager at, Martin Naylor thinks the banks had put up the charges because the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had effectively capped the amount they could charge customers who miss a credit card payment.

According to estimations, UK consumers will be charged £204 million on credit card purchases and £151 million for withdrawing foreign currency with their credit cards from overseas cash machines. Most of them will not notice the extra charges, because they are disguised as a poor currency conversion rate. Nevertheless, consumers should pay attention to hidden charges.

This may take the form of exchange rate loading fee, also known as an administration fee or adjustment charge, which is around 2.6 per cent. Cash withdrawal fees are around 2.3 per cent. Providers such as The Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, and Barclaycard, charge the above mentioned fees on their debit and credit cards.

In February, Morgan Stanley announced that their credit card customers will have to pay a three per cent fee on every purchase abroad. A rise of six per cent is expected for cash withdrawals.

Nick White, Director of Financial Services says: 'It makes sense to take several methods of payment when you travel abroad. Take more than one credit or debit card in case one stops working and take some local currency as well - although check how much cash is covered on your travel insurance.' He added: "For example, the Post Office '2 in 1' credit card is a good bet as unusually it doesn't charge exchange rate loading or transaction fees when used overseas. Nationwide's debit card is the best solution for spending abroad, as it doesn't charge cash withdrawal, transaction or exchange-rate loading fees on foreign transactions. Holidaymakers may consider using a low-rate personal loan to finance their trip abroad rather than adding to any existing credit card burden. Also, they need to check with their bank or credit card provider whether they will be paying a fee to shop overseas before they go.

About the Author

Almost half of British holidaymakers plan to use their to shop abroad, according to a recent Post Office warning.


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