first direct scraps foreign transaction fees


first direct has removed its foreign transaction fees on its debit card, just in time for the summer holidays.

first direct is the latest bank to join a small selection of others in offering fee-free debit card transactions abroad. This is alongside its long-running £175 current account switching offer and access to its Regular Saver at 7% AER.

Zero foreign transaction fees?

first direct is no longer charging its customers when they use their debit card to make purchases or withdraw cash abroad.

Joining the likes of other banks like Starling and Chase, first direct is the latest UK bank to adopt fee-free spending overseas.

With first direct’s 1st Account, you can also benefit from:

  • £175 current account switching bonus
  • Access to 7% AER regular savings account
  • £250 interest-free overdraft (subject to status)

What does this not apply to?

While foreign transaction fees no longer apply to payments made or cash withdrawn using a first direct debit card when overseas, the online bank has warned customers that they may still be expected to pay a service charge by cash machine operators for withdrawals made abroad.

It’s also important to note that first direct credit cards still carry a foreign transaction fee of 2.99%.

How does this compare to other banks?

Only a handful of UK banks don’t charge additional fees for debit card transactions and cash withdrawals abroad. These include many of the digital banks like Starling, Monzo and Chase, as well as newcomer Kroo Bank.

With foreign transaction fees typically sitting around 3%, you can potentially save yourself a chunk of change when travelling by opting to get a bank account that has no fees for spending overseas.

If you’re looking for a debit card with fee-free spending abroad ahead of your travel plans this summer, take a look at our best travel and debit cards to use abroad for 2023.

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