The best credit cards to use abroad revealed – from Halifax to Santander

TRAVEL credit cards can help save you money when you're abroad – we explain the best rates.

Unlike regular credit cards, they work by not charging fees when converting foreign currency into pound sterling.

But remember, just because you're using your plastic on holiday, it doesn't mean the usual rules don't apply.

Always make sure you clear your balance each month – if you don't, the interest charges you'll incur will outweigh any savings you make by using it in the first place.

And don't be tempted to go overboard with your spending just because you're having fun in the sun.

Lastly, as with any credit card, be aware that the advertised APR interest rate only applies to roughly 51% of applicants.

This means that you could be accepted and then given a higher interest rate.

The Sun has asked comparison site Moneyfacts to pick out the leading travel credit cards currently on the market.

Why can’t I use my normal credit card for spending overseas?

You can – but if you do it’s likely you’ll be hit with fees that providers charge when cards are used abroad.

There are lots of different fees but the major one to look out for is something called a "non-sterling transaction fee".

This will typically add anything between 2.75% to 3% to the cost of any purchases you make when abroad, money expert Andrew Hagger told The Sun.

You shouldn't withdraw cash on a credit card unless you have to – at home or abroad – but you'll also face more fees if you take money out of an ATM abroad using a normal credit card, and be charged additional interest straight away.

With travel cards, you can avoid these charges – though most cards will still charge you interest if you take cash out –  so you can spend happily while enjoying your break.

 

Santander Zero Credit Card

Santander offers no fees for spending abroad when you pay in the local currency, as well as no fees for cash withdrawals.

But interest will be charged on the cash you take out from the day it’s withdrawn at a rate of 18.9%.

The card currently offers a 0% interest rate on purchases for the first 12 months – after this, the rate is 18.9%.

You may also be offered cashback deals ranging from 15% to 25% if you opt in for the bank's "Retailer Offers" scheme.

Apply here

Halifax Clarity Card

Halifax's Clarity Card won't charge you fees for using it abroad, and there aren't any fees for withdrawing cash either.

But you will be charged interest if you don't repay your balance in full at a rate of 19.9%.

And you will pay interest on cash withdrawals until your balance is paid off too, at a rate of 19.9% depending on your credit score.

Apply here

118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card

You won't be charged any fees for using the 118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card abroad, or when withdrawing cash in foreign currency.

But if you don't repay your balance in full, you'll be charged 34% interest on your purchases.

You'll also be charged 34% interest from the day you withdraw cash abroad.

Apply here

How to cut the cost of your debt

BEING in large amounts of debts can be really worrying. Here are some tips from Citizens Advice on how you can take action.

Check your bank balance on a regular basis – knowing your spending patterns is the first step to managing your money.

Work out your budget – by writing down your income and taking away your essential bills such as food and transport.
If you have money left over, plan in advance what else you’ll spend or save. If you don’t, look at ways to cut your costs.

Pay off more than the minimum – If you’ve got credit card debts aim to pay off more than the minimum amount on your credit card each month to bring down your bill quicker

Pay your most expensive credit card sooner – If you have more than one credit card and can’t to pay them off in full each month, prioritise the most expensive card (the one with the highest interest rate).

Prioritise your debts – If you’ve got several debts and you can’t afford to pay them all it’s important to prioritise them.

Your rent, mortgage, council tax and energy bills should be paid first because the consequences can be more serious if you don't pay.

Get a payment holiday – The majority of major credit card companies are offering three-month payment holidays if you're struggling to meet your repayments. You should always keep paying until you've come to an agreement with your provider. Most lenders will also still charge interest during this time, so be aware that these costs will keep building up.

Get advice – If you’re struggling to pay your debts month after month it’s important you get advice as soon as possible, before they build up even further.

Groups like Citizens Advice and National Debtline can help you prioritise and negotiate with your creditors to offer you more affordable repayment plans.

Tandem Bank Journey Credit Card

Tandem's Bank Journey Card comes with no fees for overseas spending, or for when you're withdrawing cash abroad.

But if you're withdrawing cash in the UK, you'll be charged a fee of 2.5% (with a minimum charge of £2.50).

You'll be charged interest from the day you withdraw cash at 24.9% depending on your credit score.

Interest is also charged at 24.9% if you don't repay your balance in full.

Apply here

Barclaycard Rewards Card

Barclaycard won't charge you any fees to use your card abroad, or for withdrawing cash in foreign currancy.

If you don't repay your balance in full each month, you'll be charged 22.9% interest.

You'll also be charged 27.9% interest on cash withdrawals from the day you take out your money.

Customers can earn 0.25% cashback on everyday spending worldwide.

Apply here

Apart from avoiding credit card charges, there are a number of extra charges you should look out for when on holiday abroad – here are our top ten saving trips.

You should also avoid using your debit card abroad – these are the worst banks for fees.

In need of some cash? Here's how to get the best currency rates.

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