//Brits face £1billion a year bank charges

Brits face £1billion a year bank charges

‘Huge impact on consumers’ pockets’ recorded. By Anthony Pearce.

UK holidaymakers are being charged over £1billion a year by banks for using their credit or debit cards while abroad.

The average “non-sterling transaction fee” on standard credit cards is 2.8 per cent, with some charging as much as 2.99 per cent. The fee for debit cards is similar, but when they are used to withdraw cash there are multiple charges – an average of 2.5 per cent on the whole amount, plus an additional fee of £1.39 on average just for using a foreign cash machine.

According to foreign exchange specialists FairFX, who analysed the charges for BBC News, they are having a “huge impact on consumers’ pockets”. “When we’re on holiday it’s easy to turn a blind eye to what we think is just a few quid,” said FairFX chief executive Ian Stafford-Taylor.

A spokeswoman for UK Finance, the body which represents banks, pointed out that some now offer alternative credit cards which have no fees when you spend overseas, including Halifax, Santander, Nationwide and Barclays.

She added that cards remain an “extremely safe, flexible and cost-effective way to pay”.

“If you do not get what you paid for, if the goods or services turn out to be faulty or you are a victim of card fraud, you will get your money back”.