Using cards abroad

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This topic contains 32 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  capetonianm 18 Feb 2019
at 15:50
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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 33 total)

  • Swissdiver
    Participant

    BT Magazine, February 2019 edition, contains an interesting article on cards abroad (“Smart Traveller” section). It is a problem many of us is facing. While the article acknowledges new solutions such as Monzo, it fails to mention an important new comer, Revolut (an almost USD 2 billions UK based private company). Revolut premium cards offer multi currency accounts. So the user can change currency online, at spot rate for the main ones (1% spread during week-ends). If the card is used in a currency with no account, same conditions apply. For other currencies, such as the Thai Baht, 1% is taken (2% during week-ends). And cash is available for free up to GBP 600 per month. Add to this disposable virtual cards, travel insurance, … For a total cost of GBP 7 per month, this is unbeatable!
    Signed: an enthusiastic user!

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    frustratedflyer
    Participant

    I am a great fan of the Curve Card which I have had for a couple of years now. I can spend overseas, withdraw money from a cashpoint and charge with minimal/no cost to my UK credit cards gaining the points etc. Curve are making some changes at the moment which could make it less attractive to some but as an original customer I still have access to the original ‘Black’ deal which was fantastic. https://www.curve.app/en-gb/

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    MarkCymru
    Participant

    I use my Revolut card all the time. I’ve been in Mozambique for two weeks and it has worked flawlessly — including an alert on my Apple watch every time I use it. I haven’t tried my HSBC card here but I’m sure that it would have been blocked and that I would have had a series of increasingly frantic messages from HSBC Premier who think that I should call them every time I travel (I’m tempted — they have such lovely hold music, after all) and refuse to use their app to ask whether transactions are valid or not


    MarcusGB
    Participant

    I ordered on line and Pre-Paid, Travelex are very good with a multi currency card.
    By doing this and collecting the next day even when you travel, you will have a rate around 10% greater than just walking up at the airport.
    It has a lot of security you complete, with a PIN, so is quite secure, and you can access the account at any time to check all transactions, balances.

    Used these especially when in Australia, which avoids all charges on my UK or Dutch Cards.
    I also have one with Euros. There are no transaction or Bank charges and they operate through the Mastercard System, as a debit card.
    The “Loaded” rate is what is there when you purchase it, so it does not rise or fall no matter how long you retain it for.
    This can be advantageous, if there is a spike in a rate you use. Not every currency, but most of the main International ones can be on one card, or separate ones.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Like Mark I also have the revolut card, both a physical and virtual one. I’m also with HSBC Premier and suffer the same experience, though only if I travel somewhere new. In fairness this is the same with most UK credit cards and would have saved me being ripped off for many thousand of Euros when someone cloned my card and went on a spending spree in Windhoek!

    What I now do is load my Revolut card and then go to the cash machine. As soon as I’ve drawn my cash I put a temporary block on the card through the easy to use App so even if they find my pin, the card is blocked. I use the virtual one for all on-line purchases and can also temporarily block the card after each use.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    The article and this thread were timely for me as I am thinking of getting a Revolut or similar card. Up to now I have rarely needed to make payments or purchases outside the currencies in which I hold bank accounts, but will shortly need a couple of other currencies for upcoming trips.

    I have a Nationwide Select credit card which gives mid-rate conversions on purchases in FX, so am wondering it’s worth the trouble of getting the Revolut as the savings may be small.

    Any views would be appreciated.


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    The article and this thread were timely for me as I am thinking of getting a Revolut or similar card. Up to now I have rarely needed to make payments or purchases outside the currencies in which I hold bank accounts, but will shortly need a couple of other currencies for upcoming trips.

    I have a Nationwide Select credit card which gives mid-rate conversions on purchases in FX, so am wondering it’s worth the trouble of getting the Revolut as the savings may be small.

    Any views would be appreciated.

    You need to calculate what “mid-rate” actually means comparing it with spot rates (using https://www.oanda.com/currency/live-exchange-rates/ for instance), in percentage terms. Then match your results with the Revolut policy (valid when I asked about a fortnight ago):

    Your observations are correct – we have different markups for particular currencies on weekends. For major currencies (during the weekend) its 0,5% and for minor 1%. Major currencies are: USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, CHF, JPY, SEK, HKD, NOK, SGD, DKK, PLN, MXN.

    Furthermore, when it comes to THB/RUB/UAH/TRY currencies, those have permanent mark up of 1% (any business day) for all 4 currencies and 2% on weekends (1% of permanent mark up + 1% as any other minor currency).


    Montysaurus
    Participant

    I too think Revolut is excellent, especially the ability to “block and unblock” online.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ve bitten the bullet and applied for a Revolut card. There are so many options for this type of thing that you can drive yourself mad trying to compare and for the small amount that I might, or might not, save, it’s not worth the aggravation.

    When I’ve used my Nationwide card, I’ve noticed that the difference between the rate they apply and the XE.COM midrate is almost identical. I’ve used it in NOK, SEK, ISK, PLN, and CHF. I will soon be going to Barbados, Zambia, and Botswana so I will have two cards to use both of which should give me good rates compared to a normal CC.

    As a matter of interest, for anyone who has a ZA credit card, be warned that although 1 NAD = 1 ZAR, the bank (Standard Bank) treat NAD purchases as ‘international’ and charge 2.75% even though Namibia is in the Rand Monetary Area, as is Swaziland but the surcharge did not apply when I used it there in 2017.


    handbag
    Participant

    I am currently still able to use my Lloyds Avios Card. This is sadly being phased out, so don’t know how much longer I will be able to carry on using it for. I am not aware of any other card at the moment that has no charge spending abroad and gives points. I have searched but can’t find anything.


    OneA
    Participant

    Forget fees of any sort for credit card purchases anywhere in the world. Forget bank set exchange rates. Forget monthly membership fees.
    Free card, 0.5% cashback paid monthly on all purchases worldwide, Mastercard (the best) FX rate, instant text alert to all transactions…… This all comes with the Tandem Card. No need to preload or juggle purchases against days of the week!


    Mikeact
    Participant

    Surely it depends on whether or not you are trying to also obtain loyalty points from a card at the same time, whether that be hotel or airlines ? There are ways to get these, with forex fees @ 0% as well.


    Chris in Makati
    Participant

    Another one worth a mention is TransferWise.

    It’s similar to Revolut, but you can hold your money with them in over 40 different currencies. You get a MasterCard for spending or cash withdrawals and if you have money with them in an account in the currency you’re spending in that’s the account that will be debited.

    TransferWise is also good for remittances if you need to send money to someone overseas.

    https://transferwise.com/

    One negative for both TransferWise and Revolut is that they don’t yet support mobile payments with Apple Pay, Google Pay etc. Monzo does.


    ASK1945
    Participant

    Like Mark I also have the revolut card, both a physical and virtual one. I’m also with HSBC Premier and suffer the same experience, though only if I travel somewhere new. In fairness this is the same with most UK credit cards and would have saved me being ripped off for many thousand of Euros when someone cloned my card and went on a spending spree in Windhoek!

    What I now do is load my Revolut card and then go to the cash machine. As soon as I’ve drawn my cash I put a temporary block on the card through the easy to use App so even if they find my pin, the card is blocked. I use the virtual one for all on-line purchases and can also temporarily block the card after each use.

    As I have written on an earlier thread, I have had a Revolut card for a couple of years now, and I am another big fan. I am not paying any subscription, but there is a small (50p) fee for every transaction I do. Rather than block and unblock the card every time I use it, I leave only a small credit balance at all times, transferring money into the Revolut from my bank when I need more to pay than the credit balance. Everything is immediate. I have also not encountered any limit on how much cash I can withdraw per month at an ATM abroad.


    handbag
    Participant

    Surely it depends on whether or not you are trying to also obtain loyalty points from a card at the same time, whether that be hotel or airlines ? There are ways to get these, with forex fees @ 0% as well.

    I do try and obtain Avios points with all my spends. You said there are ways to get these, with no foreign ex fees. How? I have searched numerous times and also looked on Head for Points and can’t find anything.

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