Using your cards overseas

August 2018

With the holiday season upon us, we 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. However, it is 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 sterling cards and pay in local currency, although this will incur our international handling charge. The C. Hoare & Co. international handling charge on our Visa credit and debit cards is 2.5%.

If you are travelling for a longer period of time to the United States or to Europe, the bank can also provide you with a euro or US dollar current account and accompanying Visa card. This will allow you to purchase your currency prior to travelling and, as such, pay using a local card. The currency conversion fee from sterling 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 sterling:
It is now possible for you to choose to pay in sterling when using your card abroad. Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) makes this possible; a feature that is available to all C. Hoare & Co. card holders.

DCC shows the amount of sterling that you will be charged as it will have already been converted, so you will know the exact sum to appear on your statement. It also avoids the bank’s international handling charge. 

However, do be careful as the exchange rate used in the conversion is not necessarily good value for money and may not be as competitive as the one offered by Visa. The BBC found a mark-up of nearly 10% in several instances, compared with the standard charge levied by other card issuers of between 2.75% and 2.99%. If the retailer uses DCC without your permission, you can ask for the receipt to be voided and request that the transaction be put through 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 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 – always check your mobile app or card statements carefully for unfamiliar transactions.

Beyond this, have a great break.

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