Contacting your bank before you go away on holiday

When going abroad for our holidays we’re normally advised by friends and family to contact our banks before we go. We do have a tendency to spend well over the odds when abroad and this abnormal spending behaviour can cause our banks to freeze our card and suspect fraudulent activity. This does depend on your bank with some no longer requiring this information, although some providers still require you to do so. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t necessarily mean that any of your account settings will change.

What happens when I call the bank?

When you notify the bank that you’ll be going abroad there are three things that they’ll do with this information:

  • They’ll put a note on your account. The information you give about your holiday will be noted down and attached to your account however this will not affect your fraud settings.
  • Nothing will be registered. Due to banking systems improving when it comes to fraudulent activity, you won’t need to contact some providers. This, however, isn’t the case for all and you should always check with your provider.
  • They’ll change your account settings. Some providers may change your account settings so that you’ll be less likely to be affected when using your card abroad. 

These solutions made by your bank doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be any issues when using your card abroad. It does, however, reduce the likelihood of any problems occurring. 

Fan of money

When should you call?

In the mad rush to get everything and everyone organised for the holiday the bank is one easy step for you to take care of. If you give them the correct details of your holiday it doesn’t matter when you notify them. As long as it isn’t when you’re already on holiday and your card has been declined. This will make it difficult to unfreeze your account and will more than likely result in additional stress to your holiday that you really didn’t need. 

Will it cost me?

When going abroad, it’s also important to find out about any charges that will apply when using your card abroad. These charges do vary between banks and accounts, so it is vital that you check with your provider before leaving.

One of the most expensive of these is Santander with a 2.75% transaction fee, £1.25 per purchase fee, £1.50 minimum cash fee. With a calculation of 2 £50 purchases and 2 £50 cash withdrawals, you’ll be charged a total of £15.35. They do offer a zero account that provides fee-free transactions abroad however this is only available to existing customers. 


How can I avoid these costs?

There are a few ways to avoid such charges and fees when on holiday and save you some money.

The first being a Post Office Travel Card. These prepaid cards allow you to use the card charge free on purchases in up to 13 different currencies. You can keep track of your spending with the mobile app and top up whenever you need to. The only drawback with this card is that there is still a charge for cash withdrawals varying by which country you are in.

Another option is to apply for a credit card that allows fee free abroad spending. Our suggestion is the Halifax Bank Clarity card. With no fees on spending and cash withdrawals this card allows you to have a stress-free holiday without worry about being declined over seas or spending more money than you had predicted. There is also an offer on till the 29th of August you’ll receive a £20 cash back if you make a purchase within 90 days of getting the card. When repaying your card there is no interest applied on purchases if your repayments are made in full.

Our final suggestion is to get a current account with an online bank such as Monzo. These currents accounts allow you to spend your money on holiday without worrying about any fees. This includes purchases and cash withdrawals up to £200 over a 30-day period. If you wish to withdraw more after this then there is a 3% charge rate.