Using your cards overseas

August 2017

With the holiday season upon us, we have asked our Visa and Treasury departments for their advice about paying for goods and services whilst travelling internationally. Using your debit or credit card abroad can be a convenient, flexible and cost-effective way to pay. But, it’s worth being aware of the different charges that may be applied and how to keep yourself safe from fraud.

Paying in the local currency:
You can use your cards and pay in local currency; the C. Hoare & Co non-sterling transaction fee on the bank’s Visa credit and debit card is 2.5%.

If you are travelling for a longer period of time to the States or to Europe, the bank can also provide you with a EUR or USD current account and accompanying Visa card. This will allow you to purchase your currency prior to travelling and, as such, pay using your local card. The currency conversion fee from GBP is 2.5%, which reduces when you convert greater sums. Do bear in mind that there is currently a 1% charge to hold euros at the bank due to the European Central Bank holding rates in negative territory.

Paying in GBP:
It is now possible for you to choose to pay in GBP when using your card abroad, using Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). A feature that is available to all C. Hoare & Co. card holders.

DCC shows you the exact amount of GBP that you will be charged, having already been converted and doesn’t incur the bank’s own non-sterling transaction fee . This is useful for knowing exactly how much will appear on your statement, but be careful as the exchange rate used in the conversion is not necessarily good value for money - it may not be as competitive a rate as the one offered by Visa. The BBC recently published an article which referenced the mark-up of nearly 10% in several instances, compared to the standard charge levied by other card issuers of between 2.75% and 2.99%. If your retailer uses DCC without your permission, you can ask for the receipt to be voided and do the transaction again.

Paying in cash:
The final option – is cash! But travel safely if you select this option.

Protecting yourself from fraud:
As a final note, C. Hoare & Co. remains very alert to the ongoing threat of fraudsters. However, a few tips can help reduce your chance of becoming a victim whilst overseas:

  • It is always best to let your Relationship Manager know when you will be travelling internationally.
  • Ensure we have the most up-to-date contact details for you including your mobile number.
  • Don’t let your card out of your sight when using it in restaurants and bars.
  • Never give your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone, even if they claim to be from the police or the bank.
  • Shield your PIN at cash machines or in a shop.
  • Finally, when you return – check your card statements carefully for unfamiliar transactions.

Beyond this, have a great break.

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