With thousands of football fans heading to South Africa for the World Cup this Summer, a new report has warned about the excessive fees that can be charged on using credit cards while abroad. It is expected that England fans will spend around GBP135 million in South Africa, but punitive foreign exchange fees will hit them hard in the pocket, according to the research by Spanish bank Santander.
You can only take up to 5,000 SA Rand (around GBP450) in local currency into the country, so fans will have to rely on money withdrawn from ATMs or paying for purchases by credit card . The research found that nearly half of travellers from the UK use an ATM machine to access their cash while they are away.
The problem is that withdrawing money from cash machines while abroad typically incurs costs of around 2.75 per cent as a foreign exchange fee and a cash-handling fee of 1.5 per cent of the transaction.
However, Santander do have a product that can save the fans some money, as their Zero Current Account charges no fees for customers using cash machines or spending on their debit card anywhere in the world.
Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Director of Banking at Santander, said “People should be aware that they can save themselves a lot of money if they have a debit card that allows free ATM access and no charges on debit card transactions worldwide.”
Another piece of good advice is, when paying by card, to always try to pay in the local currency, to avoid being charged a currency fee for the conversion to sterling.