Money Mensch: The Nationwide card is no longer plastic fantastic

By Martin Lewis, April 14, 2009
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Many long-term readers of this column, or my site, will be holstering a Nationwide card specifically to cut the cost of spending when abroad. Yet sadly, this card has decided to stop being plastic fantastic. From May 6 for credit cards and June 1 for debit cards, Nationwide will start charging new and existing customers a 0.84 per cent “load” on spending outside Europe, rising to 1 per cent in July. That means spend £1,000 worth of US dollars on it and it will cost you £1008.40 in May and June, then £1010.00 from July.

Admittedly this is still substantially cheaper than most cards, which charge around three per cent, but the new top credit card to use abroad is now the Post Office’s, which does not charge a “load” anywhere in the world. Nationwide’s debit card still remains the best option for spending in Europe — though of course, to get that you will need its bank account.

However, if you are planning to go abroad this summer, apply now. The right card is completely the cheapest way to spend abroad, far cheaper than getting foreign currency out. If you do want cash though, you can do a comparison to get the best rate at www.moneysavingexpert.com/travelmoney

    Last updated: 2:16pm, April 20 2009