You shouldn’t be charged to access your money abroad:
- avoid fees for taking out and spending money by choosing a fee-free pre-paid currency card.
- Always pay in the local currency even if you are given the option of paying in GB Pounds. If you choose to pay in sterling, it is likely the merchant will charge you their own exchange rate to convert the transaction which can include a large fee, and typically is more expensive than paying in the local currency.
- Your bank might block your debit or credit card when using it abroad to help prevent fraudulent use, even if you’ve let them know in advance when and where you are travelling to. Pick a prepaid currency card designed for use abroad to avoid this happening.
- Using your card abroad at unknown places can leave you exposed to fraud. Protect yourself by always staying alert and shielding your PIN from view when withdrawing cash or making a purchase. Keep your card in sight when making purchases to avoid the risk of your card being copied.
Go Holiday editor David Kernek comments: Some who might or might not have been famous noted that all currency is neurotic currency. That’s especially so right now, as the Swiss franc goes through the roof, the Russian rouble and the euro continue their race to the basement, the US dollar goes on climbing, and the UK pound just about holds its own against most currencies except the mighty greenback.
The one thing UK and US holidaymakers can do to protect their spending money – and their bank accounts at home – is use a prepaid card to buy goods and services in local currencies, or use them to get local cash from ATMs.