We all deserve a break, but not the bills that often follow us home! Choosing the right holiday finances and services can save you money and give you more to spend on having fun.
Just because we are overseas there is no reason why we should have to pay our banks excessive charges to use our banking facilities. Many high street banks have been steadily raising the rates for using credit and debit cards abroad. Analysts from a top online comparison site have revealed that UK customers this year will be charged around £204 million on credit card purchases and £151 million withdrawing foreign currency with their cards.
Exchange rate administration fees are costing the UK holidaymaker more money every year. Many experts believe that banks are using overseas profits to recoup the heavy penalty charges they have suffered recently. Check the fees on your credit and debit cards before you go and if they are high consider applying to another provider which offers a lower rate.
If you pay by credit card you have the advantage of protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Look out for cash withdrawal charges, it’s never a good idea to use your credit card because of the high fees imposed. Don’t let your cards out of your sight, such as paying in restaurants – insist they process your payment in front of you.
2. Mobile Charges
Using your mobile’s ‘roaming’ abroad service can be very expensive. Check your contract carefully before packing your mobile.There are plans to cap these high charges, but it won’t come into effect until after this years summer holiday. Mobile call charges under the ‘Eurotariff’ should then drop by as much as 75%. Beware as text messaging will not be covered by the new laws.
There are companies that now offer mobile phones that send and receive calls via a wireless connection over the internet rather than using mobile networks. Another option is to buy a foreign ‘Pay as you Go’ SIM card to cut down exorbitant UK charges. If you have broadband and have access to your computer it is also possible to make low-cost international calls using systems such as Skype.
3. Cash Costs
The cheapest way to get foreign currency is to order it online in the UK. As always, it pays to shop around as new currency exchange deals come up all the time. Check how much cash is covered on your travel insurance.
4. Conversion Cons
Watch out for retailers overseas converting purchases into sterling and adding a fee, it’s usually better to pay in the currency of the country.
5. Zero Interest Transfer
If you spent more than you meant to on holiday don’t ‘play ostrich’ and ignore the high interest credit card statements, it’s easy now to transfer to a zero interest credit card and pay off your debt without the interest building up.