For a long time consumers have known that banks sometimes charge confusing hidden fees when spending in a foreign currency, and we put up with them because of the convenience, but how much is your bank really charging you? And are there hassle free options for managing your international spend that can also provide the best FX rate?
What and why is your bank charging you?
Although your bank may claim to be offering you the best FX rates, the additional charges may outweigh any potential savings you could make. But what is your bank charging you for?
High Street Banks often have hefty charges per transaction, for example Lloyds Bank charges 2.99% a transaction fee for all payments made abroad using their Debit Card and an extra £1.50 for ATM withdrawals.
This means that if you spend $200 on a theme park day in Orlando you could be charged almost £10 in hidden bank charges.
These charges add up very quickly even if you’re only planning a long weekend in Europe, you could be spending a lot more than you need too!
Unlike the high street banks, challenger banks often advertise fee-free solutions, however this might not always be the case. For example, Revolut charges a 1% weekend surcharge for exchanging GBP to USD, and a 0.5% fair usage premium for spend over £1000.
Even though Travel cards are designed purely for international spend, they too can have additional charges and levies that mean that could impact how much you get for your money. The Post Office Travel card charges for ATM withdrawal, and has an average transaction fees of 3%. Plus if you don’t use your card regularly you could be hit with a £2 per month maintenance fee. They also recommend you don’t use the card at self service petrol stations, hotels or for car hire.
If you want to read more about what your bank or travel card provider may be charging you, check out our in depth explanation here.
How does Currensea compare?
Currensea is the only zero-fee FX debit card that partners with your existing UK bank account to make sure that you can pay in any currency without any fees: we do not charge any non-sterling transaction fees, dormancy fees or weekend surcharges. Ensuring you benefit from the best FX rate.
Currensea offers the interbank exchange rate for 16 currencies and offers full global coverage outside that by using the Mastercard rates. When subscribing to the Currensea Premium Plan for £25 per year, there is a 0% markup on all FX spend, meaning you receive the best FX rate on the market. The Free Plan has a 0.5% markup, so whilst you’ll be charged a nominal percentage per transaction, it’s extremely competitive. You also benefit from the convenience of Currensea working with your existing bank account, so you don’t need to worry about topping up the card or managing a separate bank account..
Don’t just take our word for it, Money Supermarket named us as one of their top travel debit cards.