Using a credit card abroad

Tips and information to help you make the most of your time away.

Credit cards are very useful when you’re abroad or travelling. You can use them just as you would at home as a way of paying for things. Plus, if you need to, you can take out a cash transaction at an ATM or use to obtain local currency. 

  • At Lloyds Bank you don’t need to tell us in advance about where and when you’re going (this may vary depending on your credit card provider).
  • In case of any travel emergencies, it’s worth bringing a few different ways to pay.
  • You might pay foreign transaction fees for using your credit card abroad

Understanding the cost of using your credit card abroad

Most credit card providers charge you a fee for currency conversion when you’re abroad – and for withdrawing cash abroad you may also be charged a cash withdrawal fee. Your exchange rate will be set by your payment scheme provider – either Visa, Mastercard or American Express

Foreign exchange fee

A fee for currency conversion, which would apply to most foreign transactions you make.

Cash withdrawal fee

When withdrawing cash abroad you may also be charged a cash withdrawal fee as you would at home.

Not all providers charge the same

Always check your credit card statement or terms and conditions before you travel, so you know exactly what you’ll be charged.

How fees work in practice

The exchange rate used below is for illustrative purposes only. We also assume that you convert the currency from euros to sterling. Depending on the provider you choose to convert your currency, there may be an additional charge added and they may use a different exchange rate, which could cost you more.

A card purchase of €100 with a credit card

Original transaction
Payment scheme exchange rate 1.113654
Conversion to pounds £89.79
Foreign exchange fee £2.65 (2.95%)
Cash withdrawal fee N/A
Final statement amount £92.44

A cash withdrawal of €100 with a credit card

Original transaction €100
Payment scheme exchange rate 1.113654
Conversion to pounds £89.79
Foreign exchange fee £2.65 (2.95%)
Cash withdrawal fee £4.49 (5%)
Final statement amount £96.93

Should I pay in sterling or local currency?

When using your credit card abroad, you’ll often be given the option to pay in local currency or convert to sterling. To make an informed decision, you’ll need to check your card’s terms and conditions to see all of the costs in detail.

If you choose to pay in local currency...

  • Your credit card provider will use a conversion rate offered by Visa, Mastercard or American Express. This will usually be better than the rate you would get from the retailer or ATM.
  • Expect a small currency conversion fee and, if you’re withdrawing cash, a cash transaction fee.

If you choose to pay in sterling...

  • This means the retailer or ATM will convert the currency to sterling for you. This will usually be at a less competitive exchange rate than you’d get from your credit card provider.
  • You may also be charged a fee by the retailer or ATM for this service

Things to do before you go

Check your cards don't expire while you're away

It’s a good idea to check before you travel, as you don’t want to find yourself on holiday with no alternative way to pay for things. Order a replacement card in time for it to be with you before you leave home. At Lloyds Bank, you can order a replacement card within Internet Banking

Take multiple forms of payment in case of emergencies

It’s always good to have a few options for paying – we suggest carrying at least a debit card, a credit card and some of the country’s local currency with you. Make sure you keep these secure.

Make sure the contact details your provider has for you are up to date

It’s important your credit card provider has your latest contact details including your mobile number and email address, should they need to get in touch for any urgent reason. So do make sure to keep your details updated.

Take note of any overseas emergency numbers you might need

Most credit card providers will have a number you can call if there are any issues while you’re away from home.  Our contact us page details ours. It’s worth writing these down or saving them on your phone.

Set up a Direct Debit to cover payments due while you’re away

As Direct Debits are taken automatically, this will be one less thing to worry about whilst you’re on your travels. But at Lloyds Bank, we offer a range of ways to pay, so you can pick the one that’s right for you.

Explore ways to pay your card

Even outside the UK, a credit card can still protect your spending

No matter where you are in the world, Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 offers you protection for most card purchases of over £100 and up to £30,000 in value.

More about Section 75?

Need help while you’re away?

If you’re one of our customers and have any difficulties using your card abroad, call us on +44 (0) 1702 278 272. Lines are open 8am - 8pm, Monday to Sunday. Not all Telephone Banking services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Frequently asked questions

Key points on using your credit card abroad

  • You’ll usually have to pay fees if you use your credit card abroad. 
  • Take a little time to check the fees which apply to your credit card account, just so you know what to expect. Also check your cards expiry dates before you travel. 
  • It’s wise to take multiple payment methods with you while travelling, in case of emergencies.
  • Even while you’re outside the UK, a credit card offers you protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

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