Using MBNA abroad: Guide to fees and charges

Should you use your MBNA card outside the UK? Here's how much you could be charged in fees.

If you’re about to head off for a holiday abroad, it’s a good idea to compare available payment methods in order to avoid hidden charges.

This guide looks at how MBNA credit cards work abroad and tells you which fees you should be prepared for.

The potential fees when travelling

  1. Non-sterling transaction fees
    MBNA’s credit cards are on either the Visa or Mastercard network, which means that you shouldn’t have any problem with having your card accepted abroad. Mastercard’s and Visa’s conversion rates differ slightly from one another, with Mastercard often being a little bit more competitive. You can check and compare the rates online on the Visa and Mastercard websites. Aside from the exchange rate, you also need to consider the fees you’ll be charged by MBNA for every non-sterling transaction, which amount to a percentage of the transaction value (see table below). If you have more than one credit card, it’s worth comparing the non-sterling transaction fees they charge to decide which one offers a better deal abroad.
  2. Merchant currency conversion fees (DCC)
    While shopping abroad, you may sometimes be asked whether you want the card payment to be made in pounds rather than in the local currency. The right answer to that is a polite “no, thanks”. Being charged in pounds means that the merchant is handling the currency conversion, often at a worse rate and with more fees than your credit card company.
  3. Cash advance fees
    No matter if at home or abroad, withdrawing cash with your credit card should be your last resort. Lenders usually charge an extra fee on cash advances and interest-free billing cycles often don’t apply. When you withdraw cash overseas with one of its credit cards, MBNA charges the cash advance fee on top of the non-sterling transaction fee. If you consider that many ATM providers also add their own charge, it’s probably worth considering alternative ways of getting hold of cash while travelling.
  4. Hidden merchant fees
    Despite being less common than they used to be, you can still run into those in some non-EU countries. Sometimes merchants simply charge an extra percentage for credit card payments. Just like merchant currency conversion fees, these have nothing to do with your lender or credit card company, who won’t take responsibility for them. If in doubt, a quick question asked to the cashier before choosing the payment method will only take a few seconds and could save you a few pounds in fees.

MBNA foreign transaction fees

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
1 - 5 of 5
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
MBNA Limited Platinum Visa
3.5
★★★★★
2.95%
5%
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 13.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 13.9% APR (variable).
View details
MBNA Long 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
2.95%
5%
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
View details
MBNA Long 0% Money Transfer Credit Card
3.5
★★★★★
2.95%
5%
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
View details
MBNA 0% Transfer and Purchase Credit Card
3.5
★★★★★
2.95%
5%
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
View details
MBNA Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
2.95%
5%
0 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
View details
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What about alternatives to MBNA?

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first

If the MBNA card you have (or are considering) isn’t great for overseas use, you may opt to switch to an alternative credit card, or even to take out a second card that you only use when you’re out of the country. Here are some cards with favourable overseas spending terms.

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 be aware that restrictions and limitations do apply – you can read our full guide to find out more.

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
The Royal Bank Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
0%
3% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
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View details
NatWest Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
0%
3% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
Go to site
View details
Santander All in One Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
0%
3% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
View details
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
3.5
★★★★★
0%
5%
Up to 51 days
Up to 51 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
View details
NatWest Reward Black Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
0%
3% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £84 per annum. Reward Black Current Account holders: Year 2 onwards - £0 per annum, your representative rate is 40.7% APR (variable).
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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.

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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