*Updated: 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.
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 BankMonzo Bank
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 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 @joeydeaconN26 Mobile Bank
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 N26Curve Card
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 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 BankNationwide Flex Plus
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.
Barclaycard Platinum Cashback
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/discussionHalifax Clarity Card
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
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 LinkLink to Tandem thread/discussionAqua Card 0.5% cashback with rewards
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 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
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 OfficeLink to Platinum Post Office thread/ discussionVirgin Money Travel Credit Card
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 CardNationwide Select Credit Card (need a current account to be eligible for the credit card)
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 CardCreation Everyday Credit Card
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.
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 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 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
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 £100So 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)."