Going on holiday can be an expensive business - but some costs can be minimised. Sliding the right card into your wallet can save you money on ATM fees, payment fees and interest rates. Read our guide for an idea of what to look for when choosing a card for overseas spending - but another easy way to save money on overseas transfers is with Transferwise: Move your money securely and cheaply, saving on the fees your bank might charge.
If you have a decent credit rating and the self-control to pay off your balance in full every month then there is no doubt that the cheapest way to spend abroad is by using a specialist travel credit card. Don’t mix this up with the everyday credit card that you use in the UK - using that piece of plastic abroad could mean getting whacked with a number of charges, such as a fee for making a non-sterling transaction; cash withdrawal charges, and interest charges. MoneySupermarket has a great overview of the different travel credit cards available, along with their various benefits.
As a general rule, using the debit card attached to your UK high street bank’s current account is not a cheap way to access your money abroad. A charge of £1.50 per ATM transaction is not uncommon, coupled with a percentage charge of the amount you withdraw. Purchasing something with your card can come with a charge of around 2.75% of the item price. There are a few accounts that offer much better deals - ThisIsMoney offers a good rundown - but as this will normally involve opening a new account at a different bank, it’s usually less hassle to just apply for a travel-friendly credit card instead, if your credit rating allows it.
There is one way of minimising charges and locking in the exchange rate - and that is by purchasing a pre-paid card. They are similar to travellers cheques, in that you pay your money in advance, so there is a fixed amount on there - but like travellers cheques they are not accepted everywhere, which could cause problems. The Post Office offers a competitive one, but there are various other with different benefits and drawbacks. If you are still not sure which is the best option for you, take a look at our guide to getting the best deal on your travel money.