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A Card to get here, that won't have fees in Scotland?

when we went to england, we got a bank of america card, so as not to have foreign transaction fees, using Barclay's Banks there. But we are going to Scotland, and will not be near Barclay's. Is there a card that we can get here so as not to have lots of fees in Scotland? We have heard we may not find many banks, but there will be ATM's. And that B&B's won't accept credit cards, so we will need to be using the ATM's a lot for payments of many different accommodations. We'll be in the Hebrides and along the West Coast mostly.

Posted by
2916 posts

Using BOA at ATMs of members of the Global Alliance (like Barclays) no longer avoids all foreign fees anyway, just the flat $5 fee. I use TD Bank, which has no fees for my account, but apparently there are not many banks like that. Capital One may be one possibility, and Charles Scwab another. And credit unions generally have much lower foreign transaction fees than banks.

Posted by
28 posts

I did hear that Capitol One cards might have lower fees than others. I may check into that. Thanks!

Posted by
11294 posts

Robert's point is important. There are two possible fees when using a US debit card at a foreign ATM. One is the flat "per withdrawal" fee, and the other is the percentage "foreign exchange" fee. A Bank of American card has both - $5 plus 3% for every withdrawal. Using a partner bank saves you the $5, but not the 3%.

I'm another satisfied TD customer. Their basic account (Convenience Checking with a $100 minimum balance) has a $3 and 0% fee per foreign withdrawal, and their Premier Checking ($2500 minimum balance) has no fees for foreign withdrawals.

Another good source of low fee or no-fee cards is a credit union.

If you say where you're located, people may be able to suggest other alternatives.

Posted by
28 posts

looking through things, it looks like a capitol one card won't have fees. as i was looking at that, there was a place that mentioned getting a barclay's mastercard because it has a chip and pin which the UK prefers over our chip and signature cards. it said that you can use it everywhere, with the pin, even for parking and other things like that. it sounds like you need a chip card while over there.

Posted by
28 posts

so if i'm seeing that certain cards have no foreign transaction fees - what does that mean for ATM's? We are going to be getting money from ATM's more than anything else on our trip. I read something about looking out for using a credit card at an ATM because it is considered a cash advance and you will get the cash advance fees? does this sound right? so even if i find a card, like capitol one, with no foreign transaction fee, if i use it to get money from an ATM on the Isle of Skye, i'm going to be charged a lot as though it is a cash advance?

Posted by
6380 posts

Keep in mind the differences between an ATM card connected to a bank account and a Credit card. The first you are using your own money, the latter you are using someone else's, usually at a cost.

Your best option is to open an account at a credit union, bank, or other financial institution that charges no flat transaction fees, and no Foreign Transaction fees on top of the unavoidable network fees of about 1%. If you cannot find something local, many recommend opening a Charles Schwab investment account that comes with a Charles Schwab Checking account. It offers no fees, a generous daily limit, and you are obligated only to fund the checking account for the amount you wish. That would work for cash withdrawals.

Also find a Credit Card for Purchases that has no Foriegn Transaction fees, also getting you purchases for the ~1% network fees.

Using a Credit card for cash advances has a cost, at a minimum just over 5%, for many about 6-7%, but if all you have is an ATM card that charges you a $5 ATM fee plus a 3% FTF, then Cash advance is not much different.

Posted by
239 posts

I'm taking my CapOne Visa for no transaction fees, no exchange fees, good exchange rates (IMHO) and rental car coverage. I also lost my CapOne in London once and was very pleased with the customer service. I am also carrying my American Express and locating their offices - invaluable travel services should you need them (as I did).

Posted by
28 posts

Since we will be forced to use mostly ATM's as there are no, or few banks on our trip, it looks like the Charles Schwab account would benefit us the most. I guess I just look online for Charles Schwab and go from there? My travel money is now in a money market at our bank, and I know they would charge fees aplenty for all this, so will not use them.

Posted by
6959 posts

You can compare cards on www.bankrate.com
I use my Capital One card overseas for credit card purchases (no foreign exchange rate) and a credit union ATM card for cash withdrawals (1% of total amount withdrawn; no other fees)

Posted by
28 posts

so with a charles schwab account, i will have a debit card with as few extra fees, etc. as is possible to find. should i also get a no foreign transaction fee credit card from someone else? would that be a good thing to have as back up as well, for things other than ATM's? It seems like it might be a good thing to have for miscellaneous? I think I have enough saved for everything on the trip, but probably good to have a back up in case.

Posted by
3493 posts

The Capital One 360 account gives you a debit card you can use in Europe (including Scotland and the rest of the UK) with no fees. And when I say no fees I mean none, not even the 1% network fee! I have been using this card for over 10 years now on all of my trips to Europe and the UK and have paid exactly zero in fees. The rate they charge you for ATM cash withdrawals will match exactly to the exchange rate you see when you google it. There is no minimum balance to open or maintain the account. They pay interest that is about 10 times what I get at a big bank if you do choose to put money there and leave it. They also offer free money transfers to/from other banks to keep your account funded. And you can open it online and have your card in about a week. capitalone360.com

(No, I don't work for them nor do I get anything for recommending them. I am just a very satisfied customer.)

And yes, a no fee credit card is a good thing to have too. Why pay extra on your purchases when you don't have to? I have the Bank of America Travel Visa which has zeros foreign usage fees and no annual fee as well. I also have the Capital One Visa with zero fees and a couple others. the no fee credit cards are getting easier to find.

Posted by
28 posts

mark - will the capitol one card have the chip that i've been told is what all the places in the uk want and use now?

Posted by
1873 posts

We have cards we only use for Europe/UK. Capitol One for credit card use and Charles Schwab for ATM use (which is a checking account) and American Express for car rental.

We almost always use cash from the ATM and no fees ever! I use the Capital One for deposits from the US or big purchases while there.

Posted by
3493 posts

Capital One 360 shows a chip card in all of their advertisements so you can assume you will get a chip debit card when you open a new account.

My current Capital One 360 debit card does not have a chip. It was renewed right before the major push for chip cards started and is still good for another 5 years. I have had absolutely no problems using it to get cash out of ATMs. Visa and MasterCard still require ATMs connected to their networks to support mag stripe cards, so if you use a bank owned and operated ATM it shouldn't matter what type of card it is. I have never attempted to use any debit card to make a purchase in Europe. I always use a credit card for all card transactions other than getting money out of ATMs.

Posted by
17 posts

Also have used the Capital One 360 debit card at Allpoint ATMs in Europe and have never paid a fee. Do note that Allpoint ATMs tend to not be at banks, they are usually random places like shops. There is an app to help you find these ATMs and they are not hard to find.

Posted by
59 posts

We travel to Scotland about once a year now and always use a Capital One credit card and a Charles Schwab debit card. Actually, my husband has a USAA Mastercard with no foreign transaction fees now too that we used successfully on our last trip. Both of the credit cards are rewards cards, so we can save even more money. Love to use Cap One's purchase eraser! They have never been refused and I've never paid any fees. (The biggest problem I've had was when an apartment owner accidentally charged me twice for an expensive apartment rental in Edinburgh, tying up available credit right before time to travel. Cap One was great about getting it worked out, calling the B&B owners directly, etc.) In addition, both companies give very fair exchange rates when converting the foreign currency to dollars. The cards have chips, but the credit card is chip and signature. They seem to be quite used to that in the UK as there are lots of tourists from the U.S. As for paying for the B&B's in cash, that is not uncommon in those small businesses. You usually don't need to pay until you check out, so you have time to get to the ATM once or twice to gather the money for the payment. By the way, I love Capital One's customer service. Have a wonderful time in Scotland! It's a pretty magical place!

Posted by
105 posts

Ditto to Mark. The CapOne 360 is great. We used it in Russia, Holland, Spain, France, Great Britain, Ireland, and Kenya last year. No fees!

Posted by
2526 posts

Per discussion that I have had with CapOne, their ATM cards tied to their bank accounts are for ATM use only, they are not debit cards for point of sale, and are not being issued as PIN/Chip in the US.

Posted by
28 posts

I cannot thank all of you enough! this has been invaluable! It is pretty confusing when you have only traveled out of country once, and that was a very long time ago! I'm about to apply for the capitol one 360 and a capitol one credit card and i think we will be all set on this issue! next issue will be a phone to use while we are there. have heard we should buy a pay as you go phone at carphone warehouse in edinburgh. only thing that worries me is contacting our first VRBO when we get to Edinburgh airport, we're taking a taxi from the airport, and don't have an address for the VRBO apartment. am thinking that they don't give it out until you get there. i've asked for, but have not been given an address yet.

Posted by
28 posts

if i put my travel savings in a cap one 360 debit account, can i use it for paying for things like rental deposits that come up now, before we get there? can i use it to pay at a holiday inn in inverness? or would i need to use the capitol one credit card for those transactions?

Posted by
3493 posts

Larry,

There are actually TWO Capital One banks. There is the Capital One that has physical branches and then there is Capital One 360 which is an online only bank (formerly ING Direct, Cap One bought them a few years ago but have not yet completely integrated the two). I am only familiar with Capital One 360 and the debit card that comes with those accounts is a Master Card debit card you can use to make purchases as well as ATM withdrawals. I asked today about the Chip/PIN option but so far have not heard anything about when that might happen.

You can open a Capital One 360 at many of the Capital One branches, but you have to be clear about which one you want (easier and less confusing for everyone to just do it online). And then you can do any banking you want for the 360 account at most of their branches as well.

Posted by
3493 posts

jbsamwise

I would use the credit card for most of your travel reservations and payments before your trip. Save the debit card for face-to-face transactions after you arrive. You have the funds so paying off the credit card promptly doesn't seem to be an issue meaning you will not get charged interest. Using the credit card gives you an added layer of security because it it the bank's money that is being dealt with when you make the charges, not yours which remains safely in your checking account until you are ready to pay the credit card bill.

Just my approach, you are free to choose differently. :-)

Posted by
28 posts

thanks! i have applied for a credit card and a 360 credit/debit card, so i think i will soon be all set. i will use credit per advice, until we are over there and are using the debit at the ATMs. i did talk to customer service to make sure i was applying in the right place for the product i was looking for. and they were great.

Posted by
28 posts

they did tell me to try the new card at 2 transactions here, before going on the trip, just to make sure there are no bugs/difficulties, so i will make sure i do that.

Posted by
3493 posts

And of course don't forget to inform them of your travel dates and places! There is a very easy to fill form on the 360 web site that has always worked well for me.