Enjoy your summer vacations without card fees


The average family spends between $800-$2,000 dollars on their summer vacations. Families that choose to travel abroad are also on the line for hidden fees. Avoid all the hidden costs and fees of your vacation with our handy guide.

Before most families even arrive at their destination, their wallets are already lighter. Flights and accommodation are the most expensive vacation purchases. Depending on whether you travel abroad or choose a staycation, these costs vary. For families that need to travel, this can cost up to 44% of their funds. After travel, entertainment and food account for the biggest costs. A day in a theme park can now cost a family over $500. Recently there was outrage when Disneyland raised their prices for 2018. Many of these purchases will be made using debit or credit cards. Meaning that families will pay even more for these purchases.

What’s the deal with card fees abroad?

Once abroad every card purchases or ATM withdrawal comes with added fees. Research shows that some card providers charge as much as $13 for a withdrawal of $200 abroad. Families in the UK will face similar charges of £9.50 per £200 for foreign withdrawals. That’s before currency fees. Typical bank charges also range from 2.75%-2.99% in hidden commission fees.

People abroad should also check for additional ‘purchase fees’. Purchase fees are added on when cards are used to make purchases abroad. For e.g. 1 souvenir t-shirt for $20 will be subject to 2.75%-2.99% currency fees plus $1.00-3.00 in ‘purchase fees’.

How to avoid hidden card fees abroad?

One of the main reasons behind card usage abroad is safety. Tourists are often targets for pick-pockets and petty thefts. Popular tourist destinations like Barcelona, London, New York, and Rome are all hotspots for pick-pocketing. Carrying large amounts of cash or valuables is not recommended.

Besides relying on cash payments, there are other ways to avoid hidden card fees abroad.

  • Book online

When it comes to booking entertainment, go online. Theme parks, cinema tickets, and other items can all be bought online. Before jetting off it is advised to pre-book any tickets and avoid higher entrance prices. Booking online means no hidden foreign transaction fees. Thanks to new online payment methods like iDebit, cards are completely bypassed. In order to use iDebit or similar methods, all that is required is online banking access. When a purchase is made, users enter their online banking via iDebit and authorise any payments. Totally secure and completely free. No cards or card numbers needed. Booking online also means no long entrance queues. Theme parks and other attractions, usually have dedicated collection desks. Perfect for families with small children wishing to avoid queue meltdowns. Special offers and discount prices can also be taken advantage of by purchasing online.

  • Pre-paid cards

While on vacation, pre-paid cards may be the answer to avoiding hidden costs. Pre-paid cards work slightly differently to standard debit and credit cards. Firstly, pre-paid cards are not linked to bank accounts. Meaning that overspending is less likely to occur. Pre-paid cards only allow a person to spend what has been transferred to the card. Think of them as gift cards.

Another cool feature of many pre-paid cards is multi-currency options. Which means users can load or exchange money in multiple currencies. Ideal for travelling abroad and avoiding unfair exchange commission costs. How multi-currency options on pre-paid cards work?

For example, an American family has tansfered $1200 to a prepaid card. They are travelling to Italy, where the currency is Euro (€). Via pre-paid cards with multi-currency options, it is possible to convert the $1,200 into Euros. No sneaky hidden costs and most pre-paid cards don’t charge for foreign ATM withdrawals.