Using Barclaycard abroad

If you're heading overseas and thinking of taking a Barclaycard, find out what charges and exchange rates will apply and how to keep costs down.

Whether you already have a Barclaycard or are thinking of getting one, it’s smart to check what fees will apply before you use a Barclaycard for non-sterling transactions. So, what should you watch out for?

The potential fees when travelling

  1. Non-sterling transaction fees
    Most Barclaycards are on the Visa network, which is great because if a merchant takes card payments, it probably takes Visa. It also means that currency conversion takes place at Visa’s exchange rates, but depending on the Barclaycard you use, you’ll be charged a “non-sterling transaction fee” on top of this for each purchase. This is usually a percentage of the amount spent (see table below). Business Barclaycards are issued on the Mastercard network, in which case, currency conversion uses Mastercard exchange rates.
  2. Merchant currency conversion fees (DCC)
    If you’re paying at a merchant overseas, and they offer to charge your card in pounds rather than in the local currency, it means that the merchant’s exchange rates and fees rules will apply rather than your own card issuer’s. If you’ve carefully selected a card with favourable terms for overseas usage, accepting “dynamic currency conversion” (DCC) risks undoing all your hard work.
  3. Cash advance fees
    As a general rule of thumb, withdrawing cash using a credit card is an expensive choice and best avoided. These transactions can incur a fee, a higher rate of interest and your regular interest-free days each billing cycle may not apply. Some cards which are marketed for overseas use may offer favourable terms on cash advances at ATMs abroad, but don’t forget that even then, the cash machine provider may still charge you for using their machine.
  4. Merchant hidden fees
    These are rare but still worth looking out for. In some non-EU countries, merchants will simply add a percentage-based surcharge when you pay using a credit card. If in doubt, just ask the merchant before you hand over your card.

Barclaycard non-sterling transaction fees

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
1 - 8 of 8
Name Product Finder score Foreign transaction fee Foreign cash transaction fee Interest-free days on foreign transactions Interest-free days on foreign cash transactions Representative example Link
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
2.99%
2.99% (min. £2.99)
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 33.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.9% APR (variable).
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View details
Barclaycard Platinum 28 Month Balance Transfer Visa
4.0
★★★★★
2.99%
2.99% (min. £2.99)
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
View details
Barclaycard Platinum 20 Month Balance Transfer Visa
4.0
★★★★★
2.99%
2.99% (min. £2.99)
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
View details
Barclaycard Platinum 12 Month Balance Transfer Visa
3.5
★★★★★
2.99%
2.99% (min. £2.99)
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
View details
Barclaycard Platinum all-rounder Visa
4.0
★★★★★
2.99%
2.99% (min. £2.99)
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
View details
Barclaycard Rewards Visa
4.5
★★★★★
0%
0%
Up to 56 days
Up to 56 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 28.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 28.9% APR (variable).
View details
Barclaycard Avios Card
4.0
★★★★★
2.99%
2.99% (min. £2.99)
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
View details
Barclaycard Avios Plus Card
4.0
★★★★★
2.99%
2.99% (min. £2.99)
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £20 per month, your representative rate is 80.1% APR (variable).
View details
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Approval for any credit card depends on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances, the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.

Here’s a section from a Barclaycard summary box (a card’s “summary box” must be displayed by all card issuers, and it’s often the quickest way to ascertain what rates and fees apply to a particular card).

Section from a Barclaycard summary box Image: Supplied

Some digital banks including Curve and Revolut offer alternative ways to get around fees when paying with plastic abroad.

With Curve, for example, you can control multiple cards from your Curve card and app, and even if your card issuer charges exchange fees, Curve will convert the currency for you at the standard Mastercard exchange rate. Just beware that restrictions and limitations do apply – you can read our full guide to find out more.

Bottom line

Before using your Barclaycard abroad, check for any charges or exchange rates. If your Barclaycard isn’t ideal for overseas use, think about other travel credit cards or even digital banks such as Curve or Revolut.

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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