The Best Fee Free Debit + Credit Cards + Prepaid Cards for foreign spend e.g. Amazon DE/IT/ES - Includes Starling - Monzo - Revolut + more
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The Best Fee Free Debit + Credit Cards + Prepaid Cards for foreign spend e.g. Amazon DE/IT/ES - Includes Starling - Monzo - Revolut + more

350
Refreshed 7th Apr (Posted 8th Feb)
*Updated April: Below tables and info updated to include a wider range of providers and more info in terms of fee free card options across debit, credit card and prepaid cards.*

If you are looking to spend abroad, whether it be online shopping e.g. Amazon Germany or physically whilst on holiday, there are a number of fee free debit and credit card providers for foreign transactions and cash withdrawals, whereas the traditional banks charge up to 3% of the transaction as well as other fees. This thread aims to look at the latest providers and offers including the newer digital banks e.g. which is better for foreign spend Monzo, Starling or Revolut



Fee free foreign transactions/withdrawals - Debit Cards

The below table gives a snapshot comparison of the key debit card offers for fee free foreign spend and cash withdrawals including Starling, Monzo, Revolut, N26, and Curve.

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Starling Bank

Starling bank offers possibly the most competitive deal if looking for a fee free debit card for foreign spend and withdrawals. The Starling app based current account provides fee free foreign transactions, plus you can withdraw £300 per day at foreign ATM's with no fee (far higher than other providers). In addition has FSCS protection (up to £85k) and very good customer/member feedback. As an added bonus it pays interest on credit balances and can also make deposits via the Post Office. I know a lot of people on here use starling as a preferred method for buying on foreign PSN stores.

In addition Starling have just recently launched a Euro bank account, offering fee free euro payments. Please note this is digital only currently (no debit card) and is only available to selected existing customers, but should be rolled out soon.


Link to Starling Bank
Link to Starling Bank Euro Account
Also check out deal/discussion on Starling Bank



Monzo Bank

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Monzo bank offer a competitive app current account with fee free foreign spend. However fee free cash withdrawals abroad are limited to £200 per month so not as strong as Starling. Trustpilot score is 6.5 (however member feedback is excellent). If looking to signup for Monzo there is an ongoing referral offer of £5 (no referrals allowed in the thread).

Link to Monzo Bank




Revolut

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Revolut well known to most on here, technically is a prepaid card. Comparing directly to Starling and Monzo it doesnt appear to be as strong. The main advantage of Revolut is that you can spend at the Interbank exchange rate (better than the MasterCard rate) although be wary of the weekend surcharge. Another key benefit, as highlighted by @PLUSMAN is that you can load it up with specific currencies when the exchange rate is good and then use these currencies when you need to. Whilst it offers no fee exchange in 24 fiat currencies, fee free cash withdrawal abroad is limited to £200 per month. Revolut does not have full FSCS protection (although is FCA regulated and funds held in separate accounts). Also has recently been reported by members that it has been blocked as a payment method for some foreign PSN stores.

Link to Revolut (this link should give free card - usually £5 charge)

Also checkout out deal/discussion on Revolut
- credit @joeydeacon


N26 Mobile Bank

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N26 is a German based digital bank that launched in the UK at the back end of last year. They offer fee free foreign transactions although wouldn't be suitable for withdrawing cash abroad due to the 1.7% fee. Trustpilot feedback looks decent and believe you can use on foreign PSN stores. Whilst it's not covered under FSCS protection it has the equivalent German bank protection.

Link to N26


Curve Card


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The Curve card lets you combine all your Visa and MasterCard accounts in one. It works in conjunction with a secure app which allows you to upload an unlimited number of debit, credit and prepaid cards. Curve has been in the news a lot recently with the launch of different cards and the dispute with Amex suspending acceptance following the relaunch. At the back end of last year Curve dropped its foreign exchange fee to 0% and uses the Interbank rate Monday to Friday (although be wary of weekend surcharge), so worth a look. If looking to signup for Curve blue there is an ongoing referral offer of £5 (no referrals allowed in the thread).

Link to Curve Card


Metro Bank

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Metro Bank maybe an option for those that spend in Europe, as is fee free for purchases as well as cash withdrawals (check the definition of Europe countries included). However there are fees outside of the EU so wouldn't be suitable for spend outside of Europe.

Link to Metro Bank


Nationwide Flex Plus

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Whilst Nationwide Flex plus has a monthly fee of £13 a month, which includes various benefits e.g. worldwide travel insurance, it does have fee free ATM Withdrawals worldwide. A decent benefit if you already have this account.

Link to Nationwide Flex Plus




Fee free foreign transactions/withdrawals - Credit Cards

The key benefit of taking out a fee free credit card for foreign spend/withdrawals vs debit card, is the section 75 legal protection that it offers for purchases over £100 e.g. if things go wrong with the foreign transaction and retailer fails to provide goods/services then the card provider is liable if unable to resolve.

The below table gives a snapshot comparison of the key credit card offers for fee free foreign spend and cash withdrawals including Barclaycard, Halifax Clarity, Tandem, Santander Zero, Virgin Money and Post Office Platinum card. Generally these are offers for new customers.


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Barclaycard Platinum Cashback

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Barclaycard Platinum cashback credit card gives fee free transactions on foreign spend as well as withdrawals, plus no interest on foreign cash withdrawals as long as the balance is paid in line with billing. Whilst is uses the Visa Exchange rate it offers 0.25% cashback until 31 August 2023 so should balance itself out.There's also a current bonus offer of £15 back when you spend £1500. Representative APR 21.90%

Link to Barclaycard Platinum Cashback

Link to Barclaycard Platinum thread/discussion

Halifax Clarity Card

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A hukd favourite the Halifax Clarity Card (I think @deeky has one), gives fee free transactions on foreign spend as well as withdrawals although will incur interest on the withdrawals. No current offers (sometimes there is a £20 credit incentive so maybe worth looking out for that). Representative APR 18.90%

Halifax Clarity Card Link


Tandem MasterCard


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Strong offer from Tandem Bank (bright plastic), although I have heard issues over customer service so maybe worth bearing in mind. Gives fee free transactions on foreign spend as well as withdrawals, and also gives 0.5% cashback. Representative APR 18.90%

Tandem MasterCard Link

Link to Tandem thread/discussion

Aqua Card 0.5% cashback with rewards


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Was mentioned by a couple of members so have added in Aqua card. Generally Aqua have lower income requirements/criteria to get their credit card (run by Newday). Their 0.5% cashback card is competitive and with no fees for foreign transactions. It does have a high APR if you do not pay in full, so only go for this if you are a full payer. Representative APR 34.90%

Link to Aqua Card 0.5% cashback






Santander Zero


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Santander Zero offer of fee free transactions on foreign spend as well as withdrawals, however no cashback on purchases.Representative APR 18.90%

Link to Santander Zero


Platinum Card Post Office


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Slightly different offering from the Post Office credit card. Has fee free transactions on foreign spend, however there is a 2.5% foreign cash withdrawal fee. That said it does have a 0% for 28 months on purchases which is v decent.Representative APR 18.90%

Link to Platinum Card Post Office

Link to Platinum Post Office thread/ discussion

Virgin Money Travel Credit Card

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No fees on overseas purchases and 0% for 12 months on purchases and 0% for 12 months on balance transfers (if you've already purchased your holiday and shift the balance over). However the card is not suitable for withdrawing cash abroad due to the 3% fee. Representative APR 18.90%


Link to Virgin Money Travel Credit Card


Nationwide Select Credit Card (need a current account to be eligible for the credit card)


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If you have a nationwide current account, you maybe eligible for a Nationwide select credit card. This gives fee free spend worldwide although there are cash withdrawal fees. Representative APR 15.90%

Link to Nationwide Select Credit Card


Creation Everyday Credit Card

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A final option to consider for a fee free credit card is Creation Everyday credit card. It offer fee free purchases worldwide as well as cash withdrawals (although interest is charged). Representative APR 12.90%

Link to Creation Everyday Credit Card






Fee free foreign transactions/withdrawals - Prepaid Cards


Whilst Revolut has already been covered there a number of prepaid fee free card options available, which were mentioned by a few members. The below table gives a snapshot comparison of the key prepaid offers for fee free foreign spend.Prepaid cards may suit some e.g. if have a bad credit history then a prepaid card doesn't involve a credit check so maybe more accessible.


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FairFX

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FairFX offer several cards including Euro/Dollar and Everywhere card. Is fee free for Euro/Dollar transactions (if you have those specific cards) but is a 1.4% fee for other currencies. There is also an associated ATM fee for cash withdrawals.

Link to FairFX

WeSwap

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WeSwap is fee free for foreign spend however does have a 1% to 2% mark up depending on how quickly you need WeSwap to complete the currency swap. ATM Withdrawals are free if withdrawing over £200.

Link to WeSwap


Caxton

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Caxton prepaid card offers fee free card transactions as well as withdrawals abroad, looks to be a very strong option for a prepaid card.

Link to Caxton




FAQ's

Can I apply for a Starling Euro Currency account now?
It is currently only open to selected existing customers but keep an eye out as should be rolled out soon. You can still apply for the general Starling bank account.

Can I physically withdraw
money from my Starling Bank? Yes you will be provided a debit card which is usually sent within 3 to 5 working days.

I'm having problems with the Revolut link and is trying to charge me £5?
The link should give a free revolut card - if you click off the form it may cause problems, so suggest you have a browse of the Revolut site and information. Then if you want to make an application - use this LINK and don't click off the form.

What are the benefits of a fee free credit card versus debit/prepaid card? The significant benefit is the section 75 legal protection that it offers for purchases over £100

So what is the best fee free debit/credit card/prepaid card? As you can see there is a lot of choice. It maybe that a use of combination of cards may provide the best solution. As commented by @PLUSMAN "I use a combination of cards - Revolut, Starling, Monzo and Clarity - to try and get the best benefits, and also in case one decides not to work (which sometimes happens - never rely on just one card)."
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Top comments
Great post with an excellent overview of the different cards.

Whilst Revolut has a number of disadvantages compared to Starling (e.g. fees for ATM withdrawls over £200/mth), it has one advantage over the other cards - namely that you can load it up with specific currencies when the exchange rate is good and then use these currencies when you need to (especially for online or in-store purchases).

I use a combination of cards - Revolut, Starling, Monzo and Clarity - to try and get the best benefits, and also in case one decides not to work (who cometimes happens - never rely on just one card).

Also make sure you don't use a debit card for authorisations (e.g. car rental excess, hotel excess, etc) as this can lock some of the balance on your card and can sometimes take a month to get it released.

And - I think it goes without saying - never use your credit card for ATM withdrawls except in an emergency as it will cost you a lot more and can affect your credit rating.
lutek100022 m ago

Unfortunately I can't recommend Starling. I opened an account before I …Unfortunately I can't recommend Starling. I opened an account before I went on holiday to be able to avoid fees. And yes I avoided paying a fees but the exchange rate when withdrawing was so low I decided not to use it again. It was a bit better for purchases but yet still way below the rates I got, using my Nationwide or at exchange shop. The difference was about 11%. So by withdrawing £200 I was £22 shorter compared to Nationwide



No, that’s definitely not right. It sounds like you’ve taken the converted rate at the cash machine so that the ATM provider has pocketed the difference. It usually asks if you want to withdraw in local currency, and can be very misleading on the screen (for all cards)

Starling don’t have any control over the rate, it’s set by MasterCard. It wouldn’t have made any difference which card you used that day, the rate is the same, and the best available.
Edited by: "panddda" 8th Feb
Regarding the Revolut card, as mentioned above, its not within FSCS; but (as you have a note regarding the N26 account), it might be worth also stating that -

"Client funds are stored under a segregated trust account at Barclays/Lloyd's. Your money is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. As an FCA authorised institution, Revolut safeguards your funds as per FCA requirements, the Electronic Money Regulations 2011, and the Payment Services Regulations 2017. In the event of an insolvency of Revolut, you will be able to claim your funds from this segregated account and your claim will be paid above all other creditors".

revolut.com/hel…afe

finder.com/uk/…iew

Edited by: "Sunrayho" 8th Feb
Forgot to add:

If you don't have a large income or want to build up a credit reference, try the Aqua card. It has high APR rates and generally gives a low credit limit (generally starting at ca. £500) - but if you choose the right card, it has no foreign exchange transaction fees like the other credit cards mentioned above.
350 Comments
Good post. Plenty of deals here to make use of a fee free card
Thanks chii
Very informative post for those who don’t have any idea regarding Fee Free card Heat🔥🔥🔥
about time chanchi.this will go down well with the natives.
Anyone know whether the interbank or mastercard international rate is better?
Great post, so handy to have when buying from overseas stores and/or different regions for gaming etc.

Heat added
No excuse now for those who don't totally understand Starling purchases on PSN
Edited by: "marylandcookie" 8th Feb
Literally just transferred money from my Barclays account that I've had for 18 years...to....Starling Bank.

Starling + Halifax Clarity + Santander Zero = set for travels

(I'm also doing an account switch to RBS to bag £150. Then will do the same again to Nationwide. But Starling will end up being the account that I actually use)
Edited by: "yadiyada" 8th Feb
Thanks C32
edwardlau8816 m ago

Anyone know whether the interbank or mastercard international rate is …Anyone know whether the interbank or mastercard international rate is better?


Interbank rate is better, but only marginally
Heat from me
brilliant post thanks, didn't know about the Santander zero card...
Great post with an excellent overview of the different cards.

Whilst Revolut has a number of disadvantages compared to Starling (e.g. fees for ATM withdrawls over £200/mth), it has one advantage over the other cards - namely that you can load it up with specific currencies when the exchange rate is good and then use these currencies when you need to (especially for online or in-store purchases).

I use a combination of cards - Revolut, Starling, Monzo and Clarity - to try and get the best benefits, and also in case one decides not to work (who cometimes happens - never rely on just one card).

Also make sure you don't use a debit card for authorisations (e.g. car rental excess, hotel excess, etc) as this can lock some of the balance on your card and can sometimes take a month to get it released.

And - I think it goes without saying - never use your credit card for ATM withdrawls except in an emergency as it will cost you a lot more and can affect your credit rating.
Starling is great, used profusely in a recent tour of South America, not charged a penny in ATM withdrawal (Google each country to find ATM that don't) especially handy is the instant notification on your mobile! If you lose your card and someone tries to steal, you'll know. If you lose your card there will be a fee to reissue...
Regarding the Revolut card, as mentioned above, its not within FSCS; but (as you have a note regarding the N26 account), it might be worth also stating that -

"Client funds are stored under a segregated trust account at Barclays/Lloyd's. Your money is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. As an FCA authorised institution, Revolut safeguards your funds as per FCA requirements, the Electronic Money Regulations 2011, and the Payment Services Regulations 2017. In the event of an insolvency of Revolut, you will be able to claim your funds from this segregated account and your claim will be paid above all other creditors".

revolut.com/hel…afe

finder.com/uk/…iew

Edited by: "Sunrayho" 8th Feb
Forgot to add:

If you don't have a large income or want to build up a credit reference, try the Aqua card. It has high APR rates and generally gives a low credit limit (generally starting at ca. £500) - but if you choose the right card, it has no foreign exchange transaction fees like the other credit cards mentioned above.
Sunrayho3 m ago

Regarding the Revolut card, as mentioned above, its not within FSCS; but …Regarding the Revolut card, as mentioned above, its not within FSCS; but (as you have a note regarding the N26 account), it might be worth also stating that - "Client funds are stored under a segregated trust account at Barclays/Lloyd's. Your money is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. As an FCA authorised institution, Revolut safeguards your funds as per FCA requirements, the Electronic Money Regulations 2011, and the Payment Services Regulations 2017. In the event of an insolvency of Revolut, you will be able to claim your funds from this segregated account and your claim will be paid above all other creditors".https://www.revolut.com/help/more/security/is-my-money-safehttps://www.finder.com/uk/revolut-review




I can look to add something in - cheers
PLUSMAN5 m ago

Great post with an excellent overview of the different cards.Whilst …Great post with an excellent overview of the different cards.Whilst Revolut has a number of disadvantages compared to Starling (e.g. fees for ATM withdrawls over £200/mth), it has one advantage over the other cards - namely that you can load it up with specific currencies when the exchange rate is good and then use these currencies when you need to (especially for online or in-store purchases).I use a combination of cards - Revolut, Starling, Monzo and Clarity - to try and get the best benefits, and also in case one decides not to work (who cometimes happens - never rely on just one card).Also make sure you don't use a debit card for authorisations (e.g. car rental excess, hotel excess, etc) as this can lock some of the balance on your card and can sometimes take a month to get it released.And - I think it goes without saying - never use your credit card for ATM withdrawls except in an emergency as it will cost you a lot more and can affect your credit rating.



PLUSMAN2 m ago

Forgot to add:If you don't have a large income or want to build up a …Forgot to add:If you don't have a large income or want to build up a credit reference, try the Aqua card. It has high APR rates and generally gives a low credit limit (generally starting at ca. £500) - but if you choose the right card, it has no foreign exchange transaction fees like the other credit cards mentioned above.




thanks good info reference above, will look to add in the Aqua card.
Use Revoult all the time abroad. As I pay by card I'm tipping less too. Typical Scot. haha. I do take cash with me and exchange abroad if I ever need, but as we go with friends I pay for all of us on my card and take their Euros. Win Win
Scottish_Beardy_Man2 m ago

Use Revoult all the time abroad. As I pay by card I'm tipping less too. …Use Revoult all the time abroad. As I pay by card I'm tipping less too. Typical Scot. haha. I do take cash with me and exchange abroad if I ever need, but as we go with friends I pay for all of us on my card and take their Euros. Win Win


Revolut has been a life saver for me abroad.
Been eyeing Monzo for a bit. Anyone here got anything bad to say about them given their review score?
Starling+Clarity is my choice. Clarity is to cover anywhere only takes credit card rather than debit card.
Superb post, Heat.
Gollywood3 m ago

Revolut has been a life saver for me abroad.


3 times I was away last year and it got a hammering. I usually just add money daily and when I need. But if the Euro peaks I will bank some. Away to Ireland in 2 weeks so my banked Euros will come in hand for that
Really waiting for Starling to stop giving interest so I can get their card. They tell me they are working on it.
I've got the curve card but i've been refused for everything else
Turret7 m ago

Been eyeing Monzo for a bit. Anyone here got anything bad to say about …Been eyeing Monzo for a bit. Anyone here got anything bad to say about them given their review score?


Had it for 2 years and been abroad lots without issue. Only thing is the monthly limit.
Heat added. Chanchi is back in the business
I would encourage people to not only see some of these as a 'travel card' (or foreign purchases) But also a legitimate alternative to your traditional high street bank.
I don't think I have ever thought about recommending a bank before, however I have been using Monzo now as my day to day card for about a year now and it's absolutely brilliant. The customer service is spot on and the app / features just keep getting better and better.
Turret22 m ago

Been eyeing Monzo for a bit. Anyone here got anything bad to say about …Been eyeing Monzo for a bit. Anyone here got anything bad to say about them given their review score?


Nope they are fantastic. I use them as my day to day bank now. I would say those who have negative reviews have a hidden agenda, or are simply too stupid to have a bank account (seriously look at some.if the reviews, my dog is more coherent)
Now this is a real legit poster who posts exciting things thanks OP
Another comment to add on Starling - I just received a message from them that they will soon be rolling out Euro accounts as well as Sterling ones. This should enable you to store/use/transfer both Sterling and Euro, as well as convert Euro at the interbank rate (similar to Revolut - though Revolut allows a wider range of currencies).

starlingbank.com/cur…nt/

It is supposed to be available within the next few weeks.
PLUSMAN1 h, 0 m ago

Great post with an excellent overview of the different cards.Whilst …Great post with an excellent overview of the different cards.Whilst Revolut has a number of disadvantages compared to Starling (e.g. fees for ATM withdrawls over £200/mth), it has one advantage over the other cards - namely that you can load it up with specific currencies when the exchange rate is good and then use these currencies when you need to (especially for online or in-store purchases).I use a combination of cards - Revolut, Starling, Monzo and Clarity - to try and get the best benefits, and also in case one decides not to work (who cometimes happens - never rely on just one card).Also make sure you don't use a debit card for authorisations (e.g. car rental excess, hotel excess, etc) as this can lock some of the balance on your card and can sometimes take a month to get it released.And - I think it goes without saying - never use your credit card for ATM withdrawls except in an emergency as it will cost you a lot more and can affect your credit rating.


I dont have any of these cards yet, any advice on which would be best for a trip to usa later this year?? Which is better for USD?

I was thinking starling... but i dont understand your point about revolut. Are you saying if i transfer some cash to that account i lock in todays rate so have that much usd ready for when i spend? Does this also mean that balance/rate would be used if i withdraw from atm? (What if the rate rises by the time i use? Still locked into older rate?)

And i take it starling give me the rate on the day of withdrawal or spending and not of the day funds added to account?

Plus which of these cards are seen as debit and which as credit cards??
Cheers
Any recommendations for the Netherlands? Going again later, but recall a couple of years back not everywhere was accepting my no fee visa credit card (where they seemed to accept local debit cards).

Also, any of these work with Apple pay?
PLUSMAN1 h, 4 m ago

it has one advantage over the other cards - namely that you can load it up …it has one advantage over the other cards - namely that you can load it up with specific currencies when the exchange rate is good


I wish I was that good at currency speculation. I would be rolling in it
I got my Halifax clarity card today =)
So I can use my Halifax clarity card in any country and avoid fees ? =)
I have Revolut and Clarity card =D
It's worth mentioning that Monzo no longer offers the 1% interest pots
Hd202014 m ago

I dont have any of these cards yet, any advice on which would be best for …I dont have any of these cards yet, any advice on which would be best for a trip to usa later this year?? Which is better for USD?I was thinking starling... but i dont understand your point about revolut. Are you saying if i transfer some cash to that account i lock in todays rate so have that much usd ready for when i spend? Does this also mean that balance/rate would be used if i withdraw from atm? (What if the rate rises by the time i use? Still locked into older rate?)And i take it starling give me the rate on the day of withdrawal or spending and not of the day funds added to account?Plus which of these cards are seen as debit and which as credit cards?? Cheers



As regards Revolut: You can lock in the rate at the time of exchange - but you can win or lose depending on what happens afterwards with the rate. I changed some GBP to USD earlier in 2018 when the rate was around £1 = $1.45 and then used them at this rate later in the year when I was on holiday in the US (and the exchange rate was worse; so I gained). Revolut will use the relevant currency in your account first before changing additional currency (e.g. GBP to USD at the current Interbank rate) if additional is needed.

The other cards will give you the rate at the time of spending or when the transaction is closed (which could be a few days later).

Remember also that some ATM's will charge you for withdrawls, even if the card issuer doesn't. This applies to ALL of the above cards and is outside the control of the card issuer. You can look at the online blogs/communities for the different cards as they often give advice on which ATM's in which countries have free or lower rates than others.

Don't rely on a single card: For the US (and elsewhere) I bring at least 1 credit card (Clarity) and 1 or 2 of the debit cards. Sometimes systems go down or cards are refused for whatever reason - so have a reserve card or 2.


Another benefit of the fintech cards (Monzo, Starling, Revolut etc) is that since the account is managed via your smartphone not only do you get near-instant confirmation of a transaction (if you are connected to wifi or data) BUT you cna also control the security aspects of your account/card such as allow/stop online transactions, gambling transactions, contactless transactions, ATM withdrawls, CHip/PIN use, magnetic stripe use etc and you can also geo-tag the card so that if you are in a specific country/location it cannot be used outside that country/location. (The security features/options vary by card, but they all give you more control than your normal bank account/card.
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