The best banks and cards for British travellers

AccountNetworkTypeForeign ATM fees overseasForeign currency transaction feesannual/ monthly feesnotes
Starling Bank Current AccountMastercardDebit000
Virgin Money Current AccountMastercardDebit000
Cumberland Building Society Cumberland Plus Current AccountVisaDebit00£2 monthly, can be waived with either £750 monthly deposit or £1000 min. balanceonly available to customers who live in Cumbria, South-West Scotland, West Northumberland and North Lancashire. You have to notify them to enable card usage abroad. "You must confirm that this is going to be the primary account through which you conduct your personal banking". see account details.
Nationwide Building Society FlexPlus AccountVisaDebit00£13 monthly (see notes)free for Teenagers and Students see FlexOne and FlexStudent accounts
Monzo Bank Current AccountMastercardDebit0 in EEA, outside £200 per month free00
Metrobank Current AccountMastercardDebit0 in EEA, outside £1.500 in EEA, outside 2.5%0
Barclaycard RewardsVisaCredit000
118118 MoneyMastercardCredit000
JajaVisaCredit1.24 to 2.53% interest per month00
Santander ZeroMastercardCredit1.46% interest per month00
Tandem JourneyMastercardCredit1.45 to 1.87% interest per month00
Halifax Clarity CardMastercardCredit1.46 to 1.94% interest per month00
Monese PremiumMastercardPrepaid00£14.95 monthlyno load fee
Monese SimpleMastercardPrepaid£200 per month free, then 2%£2000 per month free, then 2%0no load fee
RevolutMastercardPrepaid£200 per month free, then 2%£1000 per month free, then 1%0Exchange rate top-up for certain currencies and on weekends between 0.5% and 2%, see disclosure. £5 one-time card fee, no load fee.

Recommendations:

Get Starling if you can, if not get Virgin Money. If your travels are limited to Europe Monzo and Metrobank are also very good.

The best credit card for low-fee travel is offered by Barclaycard and 118118. All others charge at least interest for cash withdrawals from day one.

If you prefer a prepaid card, get Monese or Revolut.

Notes:

  • All other banks apart from those listed above charge at least a currency conversion fee, many also add a withdrawal fee on top.
  • Barclay’s Bank participates in the Global ATM Alliance which gives free ATM access in a number of countries. Still not a good deal because Barclay’s does not waive their 2.75% currency conversion fee.
  • If your’re under 18, good news – Starling is open to anyone 16 and over.

Term explainer:

Overseas ATM fee: The fee your own bank charges you for withdrawals when you use a foreign ATM abroad.

ATM surcharge rebate: How much of the fee the owner of the foreign ATM may charge you directly your bank will pay back to you. Not all ATMs charge a fee, but if they do it will show up on the screen at some point during the withdrawal process.

Foreign currency transaction fee: The fee your bank charges you for a transaction in a foreign currency. Unless otherwise noted this fee applies to both, ATM withdrawals and POS transactions in a store/ or on the internet.

 

Spotted a mistake, or know another card that doesn’t charge? Shoot me an email at webmaster [at] nofeesoverseas.com

Disclaimer

I’m not a financial advisor, everything you read on this website is for informational purposes only. While doing my best, I do not take responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Make sure you read all the fine print before you sign up for any of these products. If you have questions about fees or terms contact the bank/ card issuer.