Tourists warned against foreign exchange fees


Bad decisions on overseas spending could leave up to four million Britons £180m out of pocket this Easter, according to price-comparison site Moneysupermarket.

The average tourist spends more than £500 when on holiday, and can easily be hit with extortionate foreign exchange fees and transaction charges, research suggests.

In Moneysupermarket’s worst-case example, using traveller’s cheques or foreign currency from Thomas Cook would leave UK tourists £45 worse off than those relying on Nationwide credit and debit cards.

“A credit card with purchase protection of 90 or more days [entitling you to compensation within this period if there is a problem with a product] is the best option for use overseas,” said Steve Willey, head of credit cards for Moneysupermarket. “Not only do the Post Office, Nationwide and Saga offer this, but they don’t levy foreign exchange fees in Europe. This is a far better prospect than their rivals, which charge between 2.73 and 3.0 per cent.”

Mr Willey said the Nationwide Flex debit card was the best product for overseas cash withdrawals as it carries no extra charges. “In contrast, a €100 [£75] withdrawal with a Lloyds TSB debit card will incur a £2 transaction charge plus a 2.99 per cent foreign exchange fee.”