Credit cards should be used with a degree of care even day-to-day, and usually using them abroad is highly inadvisable. Foreign transaction fees or commissions mean that any credit card spending has an instant cost before interest even begins – usually around the 3% mark.
However, there are some credit cards specifically designed for use overseas. Known as travel credit cards, they are much cheaper to use abroad and often don’t have any extra fees at all. Four of the best cards available in this class are:
The Post Office Credit Card
The Post Office offers a card which has no charge at all for purchases made using the card outside of the UK. As well as being free from additional fees for international usage, it also offers another very attractive feature; you can use it to buy foreign currency from the Post Office without paying commission. This is valid both in physical branches and online.
The Halifax Clarity card is another one which does not charge any additional fees for overseas purchases. It also has one feature that is very rare even among specialist travel credit cards; there is no charge for withdrawing from a cash machine either at home or overseas. Obviously, the card’s standard interest rates will still apply to your withdrawal.
The Saga Platinum credit card offers some very favourable terms, though it is only available to those aged over 50. Not only does it carry no foreign currency fees, but it also offers 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for the first nine months after you take out the card (though balance transfers carry a 3% fee). This wouldn’t be a bad deal on a standard credit card and is very competitive for a travel card.
The Aqua Advance credit card is one for those with a less-than-perfect credit rating. Normally, a pretty good credit rating is required to obtain a travel credit card but the Aqua Advance card is specifically designed to cater for those with some room for improvement. Like most cards for those with blotches on their credit record, it carries a high rate of interest (34.9% APR), so it is important to use it with care and ensure that you can always repay your balance in good time. That being said, it carries no charges for overseas use except for when you make a withdrawal from a cash machine, so if you want a credit card you can take abroad as a backup and then pay off when you get home this can be a useful and accessible option.