My top 3 British travel banking recommendations

If you are a UK citizen travelling abroad, foreign exchange fees, travellers cheques and bank fees can quickly add up. Here are a few ways you can avoid these extra charges!

Note: Your situation may vary, check first that these options are best for you. Information was correct at time of writing, but verify anything directly with the financial provider.

Not from the UK or Europe? Check out my Australian and USA recommendations!


Regardless of bank, debit or credit – not all providers are the same. The big three are Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Amex is big in the USA and moderately accepted in Australia, but is almost never possible to use in South East Asia (except in high-end western stores). Mastercard is widely accepted – but Visa… Visa is king.

Visa is the most accepted method in South America and South East Asia. Some ATMs in the Philippines will only work with Visa debit cards, for example. Be aware of this when picking a card. Having multiple cards through different providers is recommended, in case one network is down.

Accessing Cash

Need cash? Go to any ATM with these banks! Never use travel cards.

NOTE: Revolut and Monzo are also often recommended. However they have very low limits (£200) on fee-free transfers, and are not recommended for this reason. Starling has no limits or fees.

Starling Bank

Simple, straightforward. An online/app-based bank.

Account name: Personal Account

Fees: none.

Bonuses: Free to send money to anywhere in the world.

Requirements: none.

Card type: Mastercard

Credit Cards

For online shopping, from any seller not in the UK, this credit card is one of the best options.


Account name: Halifax Clarity Credit Card

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: You can use this to withdraw cash (interest fees apply, but only interest). Purchases are protected by insurance as per Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 – overseas or domestic.

Card type: Mastercard

Transfering Money

If you have large money to send, like paying a big hotel or dive trip bill, Transferwise is almost always the best option by far.


Fees: varies based on country

Send money internationally for a fraction of the bank or Western Union rates. Can send from bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards and POLi.

First time is for free! (first 500GBP for new users)



An online/app-based bank. Easy to apply to, but has fees.

Account name: Personal Account

Fees: 2€ plus 1.7% for non-EUR currencies.


Requirements: none.

Card type: Mastercard


For Germans only. This bank will only spreche auf Deutsch. This is a checking account with a credit card.

Account name: DKB-VISA-Card

Fees: none.

Bonuses: Free ATM withdrawals. Cashback at some online stores.

Requirements: First year, none. After that, a monthly deposit of 700 EUR is required to keep all benefits.

Card type: Visa