NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland customers are charged the most for using their debit cards to withdraw money abroad.
Customers of the two banks pay both a card transaction charge of 2% of the amount withdrawn, from a minimum of £2 up to a maximum of £5 per withdrawal, and a cash conversion charge of 2.75%.
Research from Norwich & Peterborough Building Society found that holidaymakers using fee-charging debit cards in the top 10 foreign holiday destinations pay an average charge of £5.99.
Here's that top 10 in full.
|Country||Average amount withdrawn per ATM withdrawal||Maximum amount in fees and charges for average withdrawal|
|5. United States||£122.13|
|7. New Zealand||£99.43||£4.72|
What the banks and building societies charge
Other banks' charges vary but some international ones, such as Santander, offer fee-free withdrawals from their cash machines in their home countries, in Santander's case Spain.
Are you wondering what your current debit card will charge you for cash withdrawals abroad? Here's a breakdown of what to expect from some of the big names.
|Bank/Building Society||Cash Conversion Charge||Card Transaction Charge|
|Barclays Bank||2.99%||£1.50 (free if you're using an ATM that's part of the Global Alliance - see here for more on which banks are included)|
|Bank of Scotland||2.99%||1.5%: min £2, max £4.50|
|1.5%: min £2, max £4.50|
|NatWest||2.75%||2%: min £2, max £5|
|Royal Bank of Scotland||2.75%||2%: min £2, max £5|
|First Direct||2.75%||2%: min £1.75, max £5|
|Santander||2.75% (free if using a Santander ATM in Spain)||1.5%: min £1.99 (free if using a Santander ATM in Spain)|
|HSBC||2.75%||2%: min £1.75, max £5 (free for Premier and Advance account holders)|
|Clydesdale Bank||3.75%: min £1.50||Nil|
|2.25%: min £2, max £5|
|Norwich & Peterborough BS (Gold Classic and Gold Light accounts only)||Nil||Nil|
Norwich & Peterborough offers a fee-free debit card with their Gold Classic and Gold Light current accounts. Metro Bank also charges no fees on the debit card included with its current account.
Norwich & Peterborough's Gold Classic current account requires you to pay in at least £500 each month or you have to pay a £5 'underfunding charge'. Alternatively, with the Gold Light account you have to have a balance of at least £5,000 or make five transactions in and out of your account each month. If you don't, you'll pay a 'low usage' fee of £5 a month.
If you don't want to use the account as your main one, you'll probably be better off with the Gold Classic – just make sure you transfer the £500 over a month by setting up a direct debit from your main account.
For an account with no strings, Metro Bank's current account is perfect. There's just one catch – you need to visit a branch (or store, as they prefer to call them) to open one. At the moment, all of its branches are in the south-east of England, with the majority in London. But if you're planning a trip to the capital anyway, you could spend half an hour opening an account and then manage it online.
Another charge to watch out for
When you're looking for somewhere to withdraw your cash, make sure you avoid ATMs charging a withdrawal fee.
When a debit card might not be enough
You should also bear in mind that there are certain circumstances when you will need a credit card.
For example, some hotels and car hire companies insist you pay by credit card. And using a credit card mean you'll have extra spending protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
Compare the top credit cards to use abroad