Beware of bank card charges when travelling

Play your cards right!As usual at this time of the year we’ve been hearing complaints about what some people see as rip-offs when they’ve used their bank cards while on holiday outside of France. The banks, of course, look for any opportunity to make a bit of extra money.

A few points worth making: before leaving check that your card is acceptable where you are going both for purchases and withdrawals. If you’re staying in the euro zone there’s no problem with making payments – it’s just as if you’re carrying out a purchase here. With ATM withdrawals, however, there can be charges and commissions, depending on the bank. Find out first. Beyond the euro zone things can be more complicated and again try to inform yourself in advance. One tip: where there’s a standard charge for ATM withdrawals you can save by drawing larger sums and so avoiding repeat payments.

But here’s some good news: Ryanair and easyJet have agreed, under pressure from the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, to include their charges levied for payment by debit cards within their headline fares. Ryanair has even said it will scrap these charges altogether “in the near future”.