Credit cards

Best Travel Credit Cards 2022 | Choose the right card for you


fingers crossed for a vacation abroad next year? There are a number of credit cards specifically designed for use while traveling, which helps avoid often unexpected charges when you get there.

These offers can come and go depending on the market and their terms may change. But – as overseas vacations get closer – we’ve done some research (december 2021) to find some of the best deals. We’ve listed the ones we found below.

It should be noted before you begin, however, that not all applicants will be eligible for these cards. The best travel credit card for you will depend on your own circumstances, such as your credit history and income.

However, you can still use an eligibility checker to find out your chances of being accepted. It doesn’t show up on your credit score, so you have nothing to lose.

What are the best travel credit cards?

Barclaycard Reward credit card

1. Barclaycard Reward credit card – 5/5 stars

TAEG representative: 22.9% (variable)

Purchase costs abroad: Nothing

Our verdict

There are no hidden charges under this plastic if you take it overseas. This means that there is no charge even for withdrawing cash from an ATM and, exceptionally, no interest payable on that amount (as long as you clear the balance at the end of the month).

As the name suggests, the card also offers rewards. In this case, it is a discount of 0.25% on expenses, in the country or abroad. It’s only 1 pence for every £ 1 spent, but there is nothing to lose.

As always, you’ll need to pay off your balance each month to avoid paying interest, which is priced at 22.90% Representative APR (variable). You must be at least 21 years old, have at least four years of credit history and an income of over £ 21,000 to be considered.

Clarity Halifax

2. Halifax Clarity – 5/5 stars

TAEG representative: 19.9% ​​(variable)

Purchase costs abroad: Nothing

Our verdict

This card has long been a benchmark for overseas travelers, charging no fees when you use it for purchases or to withdraw money abroad.

However, a representative interest of 19.9% ​​(variable) will apply upfront if you use the card to withdraw local currency at an ATM (even if you clear your balance in full). If you choose to withdraw the pound, the interest is higher.

A good rule of thumb everywhere, however, is to keep credit cards and ATMs separate.

NatWest Credit Card

3. NatWest Credit Card – 4.5 / 5 stars

Costs abroad: 3% cash withdrawal fee

TAEG representative: 12.9% (variable)

Purchase costs abroad: Nothing

Our verdict

The NatWest credit card is a bit versatile, offering a relatively low representative APR and no charges abroad. The exception is a percentage-based charge if you withdraw currency at an ATM and interest on that amount (even if you clear your balance at the end of the month).

The biggest downside is that the card is only available to existing NatWest customers (i.e. with a checking account, savings account, credit card or mortgage).

In the event that you are paying interest, the 12.9% is only representation and you may be offered an APR of 15.9% or 19.9% ​​(variable), depending on your situation.

Virgin Money Travel Credit Card

4. Virgin Money Travel Credit Card – 4/5 stars

Costs abroad: 3% cash withdrawal fee

TAEG representative: 21.9% (variable)

Purchase costs abroad: Nothing

Our verdict

Avoid ATMs when traveling and you can spend free abroad with the Virgin Money travel credit card. However, if you use the card at an ATM, a 3% fee is charged, plus an APR charged of 27.9% (variable) on the amount, until it is refunded.

The card also offers nine months of interest at 0% on purchases, balance transfers (2% fee) or money transfers (4% fee), if you need them.

Zopa credit card

5. Zopa – 4/5 stars

Costs abroad: £ 3 cash withdrawal

TAEG representative: 34.9% (variable)

Purchase costs abroad: Nothing

Our verdict

This Zopa card does not charge any fees on overseas purchases apart from a flat fee of £ 3 for withdrawing cash from ATMs in any currency.

But, while you may be offered an APR as low as 9.9%, the representative APR, which applies to the majority of successful applicants, is a high APR of 34.90% (variable).

So it’s even more important to get the most out of the card and clear your balance every month.

How did we rank the cards?

Cards are ordered primarily on their fees from overseas, with the best deals in mind. We’ve also factored in representative APR and all other features, such as spending 0% on purchases or balance transfers.

Learn more about travel credit cards and how to use them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why use a travel credit card?

While you’re on vacation abroad, using plastic to pay is a hassle-free option – it means you don’t have to carry cash or scavenge for foreign currency.

But, if you use your regular cards on vacation, you will likely pay for this convenience through fees.

Most standard credit and debit cards charge transaction fees other than sterling. This is typically around 2.99%, which means you’ll pay an additional £ 2.99 for every £ 100 spent.

Some card providers may also charge you additional fees whenever you use your card outside of Europe.

Taking foreign currency from an ATM with your credit card becomes very expensive. You will be charged a withdrawal fee – a percentage or a fixed amount – as well as immediate interest, even if you clear the balance that month.

Withdrawal fees may also apply to your debit card.

In short, even if you only make a few transactions, the costs can quickly add up.

Specialty travel credit cards are designed for spending abroad and eliminate some or all of those fees.

What are the other advantages?

If you spend between £ 100 and £ 30,000 on a credit card, you will benefit from protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if something is wrong with your purchase, or if the company from which you are purchasing goods or services goes bankrupt, the card provider will reimburse you even if the retailer does not.

Some travel credit cards also offer incentives such as cash back, rewards, or travel insurance. Plus, you can benefit from competitive exchange rates when using your card abroad.

What are the pitfalls of a travel credit card?

Here are some pitfalls to avoid when shopping for the best travel credit card:

  • Use your card to withdraw money – although withdrawals are free, interest may apply immediately and sometimes charged at an inflated rate. Handing over your plastic to pay will be cheaper
  • Pay in pounds sterling – if you are asked if you want to pay in sterling or in the local currency, choose the latter. This avoids dynamic currency conversion, where the retailer fixes the (often unfavorable) exchange rate
  • Carry forward a balance – it is natural to let go on vacation and spend more than usual. But make sure you have the money to clear your balance each month. Unless you have a 0% deal, you’ll have to pay interest, and credit cards tend to have a high APR.
  • Be overtaken by the costs – despite the elimination of many fees when spending abroad, some travel credit cards may charge a monthly or annual fee, so be sure to check

What’s the best travel credit card for you?

The first step is to check what you will be charged for using the card (s) you already have. If you need it, contact the supplier to find out. Then you will know how much a travel credit card could save you.

Then go to a credit card comparison service to see the available travel options. Many card providers now offer eligibility checkers that allow you to see if you would be accepted for a card without making a formal request.

As always, the most competitive offers are only offered to applicants with good credit scores.

When looking at the travel credit cards listed, pay attention to the following fees:

  • Transaction fees other than pound sterling what you will pay, per purchase, to convert the currency
  • Fees in cash other than pound sterling – what you will be charged for withdrawing money from an ATM
  • Interest on cash withdrawals – which APR will apply and from when?
  • The APR representative – the annual percentage rate indicates the amount you will repay in interest and takes into account all charges. But keep in mind that while the APR is ‘representative’, it should only be offered to 51% of people who successfully apply for the card, with the remaining 49% potentially being offered a higher rate.

On the positive side, look for cash back or rewards. If the card has an annual fee, assess whether the benefit is worth it.

What are the alternatives to a travel credit card?

There are also alternatives to a travel credit card.

You can withdraw foreign currency before your trip. If you choose to do so, be sure to shop around for the most competitive rates online and that your travel insurance covers you in the event that money is lost or stolen.

You can also request a prepaid currency exchange card that you load in currency up front and spend just like you would a debit card. Prepaid cards are a good way to budget, but they can still charge a fee for spending or withdrawing money, so always check.

There are also a number of debit cards designed for use abroad, but you may need to open a new bank account to qualify.

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