Halifax Clarity Card review 2021

If you plan to use your card overseas at merchants and atms, but aren’t so keen on the fees, this popular card has become the go-to. But many people don't realise that non-sterling cash advances won't benefit from the usual "up to 56 days" interest-free.

You say: ★★★★★We say: ★★★★★

Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.93% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).

0%

Foreign transaction charge

19.9%

Representative APR

0%

Balance transfer fee

£0

Account fee

Details

IssuerBank of Scotland
NetworkMastercard
Annual/monthly fees£0
Balance transfers19.93%
Balance transfer fee0%
Purchases19.93%
Purchases interest-free periodUp to 56 days
Cash advances19.93%
Min credit limit£0
Max credit limitNot specified
Additional cards available1

Review by


Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.

Expert review

The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is one of the most popular cards on the market for taking overseas, with zero fees on spending abroad. In fact, it’s almost a household name! Cards like the Clarity card use Mastercard currency conversion rates, so as well as swerving the fees, you can rest assured that the charges haven’t simply been hidden in an inflated exchange rate.

If you do opt to take this card away on your next trip, just bear in mind that if you use it to withdraw non-sterling cash, there will still be catches that you’ll want to bear in mind. Let’s run through them one by one.

Firstly, the local ATM may still charge you a fee. That’s out of Halifax’s hands. Next, if you withdraw cash overseas, it’ll start to accrue interest from the day the funds leave your account (it won’t benefit from the grace period that applies to regular purchases provided you clear your balance in full each month). Finally, making multiple credit card cash advances will be recorded in your credit file and could hurt your credit score.

These cash withdrawal catches are mostly out of Halifax’s hands, but all in all, we think they make the card’s 0% currency conversion on cash a nice perk, but one to be used sparingly and with caution. If you stick to using it for non-cash transactions and pay off your balance in full when the bill comes through, you should enjoy a catch-free experience!

As with any credit card offering favourable currency conversion, whenever you’re presented with the option to pay in the local currency or for the local merchant/bank to convert to the local currency for you, you should choose to pay in the local currency (otherwise the it will be the local bank or merchant whose currency conversion fee structure will apply, rather than your card issuer’s). If you’re outside of the EU, some cheeky merchants might also levy a surcharge on credit card transactions (ask before you pay).

Being a Mastercard, you’ll be able to use it at nearly 53 million locations worldwide. Plus, as a little bonus, you’ll have access to exclusive entertainment and travel experiences through the Mastercard Pricless Cities programme.

If, however, you’re planning to use the card for anything other than overseas spending, there are probably more suitable cards available from both Halifax and other card issuers.

The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is issued on the Mastercard network so it's accepted at nearly 53 million merchants across more than 210 countries and territories.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases.
  • No cash withdrawal fees when you're abroad (on any other card, this would be one of the worst things you could do).
  • No annual fee.

Cons

  • Cash advances at home or abroad don't benefit from interest-free days (and "cash advances" includes buying foreign currency).
  • No 0% introductory offers.
  • No rewards.
  • Balance transfer fee.

Road test: The Clarity in action

We took the Clarity Card to Paris and spent 100 Euros in one transaction to see if it’s as good as its word. Yes, we know – tough job, but somebody’s got to do it etc.

According to Mastercard’s currency conversion calculator, on that day the exchange rate was .8485 pounds to the Euro. In other words, our €100 lunch should have cost us £84.85.

The Halifax clarity credit card lying on a restaurant bill on a saucer in a restaurant
Putting the Clarity to the test in Paris Finder UK
Screeshot of the Mastercard online currency conversion tool
The true cost of an omelette-based lunch in Paris, according to Mastercard Finder UK
Screenshot of a credit card payment in Halifax's online banking
Halifax agreeing with Mastercard’s currency conversion calculation – to the penny Finder UK

…and sure enough, when the transaction appeared in the account’s online banking facility moments later, it had indeed been charged at £84.85.

Our waiter never offered to bill us in Sterling. If he had, we would have said no, since we knew Halifax wouldn’t charge forex fees, while the restaurant’s bank might.

The credit card balance was was paid off in full by direct debit shortly after, so the lunch never accrued any interest. All in all, the card delivered on what it promised.

How does it compare?

Halifax's card

Name Product Purchases rate Foreign transaction fee Foreign cash transaction fee Interest-free days on foreign transactions Interest-free days on foreign cash transactions Representative example
Halifax Clarity Credit Card Mastercard
19.93%
0%
0%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.93% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Other popular cards for overseas spending

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Name Product Purchases rate Foreign transaction fee Foreign cash transaction fee Interest-free days on foreign transactions Interest-free days on foreign cash transactions Representative example
The Royal Bank Credit Card (existing customers only)
12.9%
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).
The NatWest Credit Card (existing customers only)
12.9%
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).
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
0%
3% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Bip Credit
29.95%
0%
0%
Up to 48 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
Ulster Bank Credit Card Mastercard
12.9%
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).
Metro Bank Personal Credit Card Mastercard
14.9%
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
0%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 14.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 14.9% APR (variable).
Nationwide Member Credit Card Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9%
0%
2.5% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Nationwide Member Credit Card All Rounder Offer
0% for 15 months reverting to 19.9%
0%
2.5% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Halifax Clarity Credit Card Mastercard
19.93%
0%
0%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.93% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money Travel Credit Card
0% for 9 months reverting to 21.9%
0%
3%
Up to 50 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money 29 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
5%
Up to 50 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money 27 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
5%
Up to 50 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money 19 Month All Round Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 19 months reverting to 21.9%
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
5%
Up to 50 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card
22.9%
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
5%
Up to 50 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Barclaycard Rewards Visa
22.9%
0%
0%
Up to 56 days
Up to 56 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money 16 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 3 months reverting to 27.9%
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
5%
Up to 50 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money 12 Month All Round Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 12 months reverting to 27.9%
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
5%
Up to 50 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.9% APR (variable).
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
34%
0%
0%
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).
Zopa Credit Card Visa
34.9%
0%
0%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Aqua Advance credit card
34.95%
0%
5% (min. £4)
Up to 48 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.944%
0%
3.99% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £7.99 per month, your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
Royal Bank of Scotland Reward Black Credit Card Mastercard
21.9%
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: £0 per annum, your representative rate is 40.7% APR (variable).
NatWest Reward Black Credit Card Mastercard
21.9%
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: £0 per annum, your representative rate is 40.7% APR (variable).
Santander World Elite Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
0%
3% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £15 per month, your representative rate is 49.8% APR (variable).
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus Credit Card
22.9%
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
5%
Up to 50 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £160 per annum, your representative rate is 63.9% APR (variable).
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Approval for any credit card will depend 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.

The verdict

With no currency conversion fees on overseas spending, the Halifax Clarity credit card is a handy travel companion for those looking for a card to cover everyday spending at home and abroad.

Sure, there are still some fees you’ll need to look out for – such as cash advance and foreign ATM fees, but as a potentially low-cost travel credit card, the Halifax Clarity is a solid pick.

For many (including the reviewer), the Clarity will be popular as a second credit card. For spreading the cost of large purchases (like a holiday) over longer periods, or for earning rewards and enjoying perks, more specialised cards are available.

All in all, the Clarity is deserving of its respected status as a go-to travel credit card.

Repayment options

You can make manual repayments through Halifax's app, by logging in to your online banking or over the phone (0345 944 4555). Alternatively, you may wish to set up a direct debit.

A direct debit protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and either damaging your credit score, getting hit with a penalty fee (£12) or losing any promotional rates as a result.

You can arrange a direct debit for repayments when you apply for the credit card. The table below shows the options available.

Choose from the following direct debit options for your monthly repayments:

Minimum amount Fixed amount Fixed percentage Full amount

How to apply

If you've compared cards and want to apply, completing the secure online application form takes about 15 minutes. Before you apply, check that you meet the eligibility requirements and have the information and documents you'll need to make the process as straightforward as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to tell Halifax I'm going abroad?

No, this is no longer necessary. You can use any Halifax credit or debit cards worldwide now, without having to give the bank a heads-up beforehand. Halifax does state, however, that you should ensure it has an up to date mobile number to contact you on (in case it's worried about suspicious card use). Always carry a back-up means of payment when you're abroad, and if you need to contact Halifax while you're away, you can call +44 1733 573189.

What does Halifax consider a cash advance?

The term "cash advance" is a catch-all for "cash-like" transactions. Deep in its T&Cs Halifax specifically mentions:

  • Cash withdrawals – which can mean using an ATM or, say, getting cashback at the supermarket.
  • Buying foreign currency – in other words using your card at a bureau de change to pay for foreign currency.
  • Gambling transactions – which was banned on credit cards anyway as of April 2020. Bear in mind that any transactions (buying drinks, for example) in gambling establishments such as casinos or betting shops are liable to be treated as cash advances.

The Clarity's cash advance fee is 0% but you will start paying interest on these transactions from the day they take place – even if you always pay your full balance off each month.

Finder credit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Our experts score travel credit cards to determine their value against similar products on the market. We look at a number of important factors, like the cost for non-sterling transactions, any caveats or restrictions related to using your card overseas, travel-related perks/benefits, plus the potential costs involved with running the card both in the short and longer term.

You can read more about our scoring criteria on our credit card methodology page.

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.

Ask an expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy.

3 Comments

    Default Gravatar
    Pauline
    July 5, 2020

    Can you pay foreign utility bills with Halifax clarity card with an IBAN number and what are the charges involved

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Tom
      July 7, 2020

      Hi Pauline,

      That’s an interesting question. It should be possible to pay your foreign utility bill using your Halifax Clarity credit card, but this is something you’ll need to confirm with both Halifax and your utility provider first.

      In terms of fees, the Halifax Clarity credit card offers zero fees when spending abroad, so you shouldn’t be charged on this transaction. However, the utility provider may also charge you a fee for using your credit card. If given the option, you should also choose to pay the bill using the local currency, as this helps you avoid currency conversion fees.

      As mentioned above, it’s best to check with Halifax directly to confirm if you’ll be able to use your card to pay your bill, and if so, what fees you’re likely to pay. I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Regards,

      Tom

    Avatarfinder Customer Care
    Tom
    January 7, 2020

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for your question. The Halifax Clarity card is part of the Mastercard network, which means it can be used in more than 70 million locations worldwide, including Prague.

    You should be free to use the card anywhere that accepts Mastercard, whether it’s a supermarket, pub, restaurant, cafe or on public transport. You also won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees on any purchases you make abroad.

    I hope this helps, but please get in touch if you have any other questions.

    Thanks,

    Tom

Go to site