Using Your Halifax Credit Card Abroad

Your Fee-Saving Guide.

Updated: May 18, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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Do you want to know exactly how to make international payments using your Halifax credit card? Be prepared for some hassle. 

That’s because many Halifax customers have complained of seeing astronomically high penalties on their credit card bills after using their cards abroad.

But those who would rather not overspend over the holidays are fortunate in that they have options. In this piece, we'll explain the pitfalls of using a Halifax credit card overseas, including the costs and currency rates you might expect, and we'll suggest some better options. 

Read on to find out how to get the most out of your credit card when travelling internationally, whether you're going there for business or pleasure. 

Let's get started.

Spotlight: ‘Halifax Clarity Card’

Halifax Clarity Credit Card

Halifax Clarity Credit Card
Credit Limit
Subject to status
Representative % APR (variable)
22.9% APR
  • Charges the same interest rate on everything you buy.
  • No foreign exchange fees.
  • Any money spent abroad will be set by the Mastercard exchange rate on that day.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 22.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 22.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

With the Clarity Credit Card from Halifax:

  • Single interest-rate for all purchases. You may use this to monitor your outgoing cash and incoming loan payments with ease.
  • No extra costs when paying in a foreign currency.
  • Daily exchange rates determined by Mastercard get used for all international purchases.

Useful information: 

  • A ton of countries accept Mastercard.
  • Withdrawals are subject to interest charges from the day they are made.
  • Halifax will not add a fee (however please note that certain banks and ATM networks do).
  • Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act of 1974 protects consumers who make purchases of over £100 up to a maximum of £30k.

Cautions to take note of:

  • You can get credit only if you qualify.
  • If you pay off your debt in full each month, you won't have to worry about accruing any interest.
  • Never take on more debt than you can comfortably pay back. 
  • Reflect on if you will still be able to make payments if your financial situation changes.

Common features seen in Clarity accounts

  • You can see your base currency account balance, recent transactions, and statements digitally on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Payments, transfer requests, and other transactions are all possible.
  • If you report a lost or stolen card or any suspicious activity immediately, they will cancel your card and refund any unauthorised charges.
  • Numerous payment methods are available, such as monthly Direct Debit payments, bank transfers, and debit card payments.
  • UK call centres are on standby all seven days of the week (although, not all telephone banking services are accessible around the clock).
  • Paying using a contactless card is a fast and safe way to pay for modest amounts. Store your card data on your mobile (best challenger apps) — for fast payment online/at stores.
  • Your monthly statement becomes available online instead of being sent out each month. They also provide an email notification service for when your online statement is updated.

Abroad credit card use with a Halifax account

It goes without saying that credit cards are useful instruments for managing any and all financial transactions that may arise while a vacation abroad. 

It's the same with the variety of credit cards offered by Halifax, all of which allow you to:

  • Make purchases at overseas POS terminals.
  • Get cash from international ATMs in your own currency.
  • Arrange for lodging, transportation, or a flight, and pay any required deposits.

Some Halifax credit cards even provide specific perks like travel insurance, incentives, cash back, and more when used on international purchases. It's smart to research potential perks before setting out on a trip so you know what you can and can't count on.

Halifax's international credit card fees

Although using a Halifax credit card overseas is simple and convenient, you should be aware of the fees that may be incurred. 

We have summed them up here (excluding things like yearly fees, cash advances, and interest charges that aren't directly tied to travel):

Forex MarginUp to 0.3%
Foreign Exchanges 2.95%
Cash Withdrawals5%

All of these things might add up to make your overseas vacation more expensive than it has to be. Let's dissect one to see how they usually work:

POS fees 

Consider the following scenario: while on vacation in Paris, you decide to splurge €100 on a fashionable item from a specialised store. 

Use your Halifax credit card to make the purchase. Your British pounds will be exchanged into European Union euro immediately. This is done at the Visa or Mastercard exchange rate (which is usually within 0.3% of the real mid-market exchange rate) without any additional fees being assessed by Halifax. 

In other words, the exchange rate won't cost you much, and if you use a Mastercard to pay, you'll end up paying £88.79 (at Mastercard's rate) rather than £88.49 (at the mid-market rate) on your final bill. Surely that's no big problem.

But that's not all there is to it. Halifax's foreign exchange fee is 2.95 percent. The total amount debited from your account will be £91.40 (2.95 % more than the fair value of the swap, or £2.61). This may not seem like a lot, but remember that you'll be slapped with this cost every time you touch your credit card, so it all mounts up fairly fast.

Cash withdrawals 

When making a cash withdrawal with your Halifax credit card, the fees are much higher. 

To continue with our scenario, let's say you decided to take €1,000 from an ATM in Paris to get you through the following several days.

Again, the 2.95% foreign currency charge (£26.19) would be added to the Mastercard exchange rate (£2.92 at the time of research for a €1,000 conversion). There would also be a 5% surcharge added to the remaining balance (£42.94 in this scenario).

Your bank statement's pound conversion would be a staggering £959.93 after adding in this combined £72.05 (or over 8%!) cost.

Verdict: Using Halifax credit cards abroad

What did we learn?

Clarity card from Halifax

The Halifax Clarity Mastercard is an international spending card designed just for your trip. Because of its widespread acceptance, you can use it everywhere. It has simple terms, no hidden fees, and a fixed interest rate that doesn't change no matter how much you spend.

Payouts, interest, and charges

The Halifax Clarity card has no foreign transaction or ATM withdrawal fees. However, ATM withdrawals will incur interest rates of 22.94% to 28.94%. This cost will be incurred unless the balance is paid in full.

Interest charges on purchases are avoided if they are paid back in full. However, the annual percentage rate (APR) is 22.9% if you don't.

Exchange rates 

For currency conversions, this card takes advantage of Mastercard's rates. These prices are probably going to contain a premium over the mid-market exchange rate, just as Visa's do.

The Mastercard Currency Converter Calculator may help you estimate your exchange rate, but keep in mind that exchange rates are volatile and you may not obtain the exact rate shown.

Added advantages

The Halifax Clarity card is not as generous as the Barclaycard Rewards card. However, you'll have the security of being able to access and control your account online. Online currency orders are also available to Halifax clients.

Eligibility and application procedure

The following are prerequisites for submitting an online application for a Halifax Clarity card:

  • A UK resident over the age of 18.
  • Maintain a steady yearly income.
  • Have no prior bankruptcy, IVA, or CCJ filings.
  • Not be a full-time student or jobless.

After passing a brief online qualification process, applications can be submitted electronically.

Related Guides:

FAQs

Can I use my Halifax credit card in other countries?

When I use my Halifax credit card internationally, how much will it cost me?

Does using a Halifax credit card overseas incur any fees?

How can I let Halifax know that I will be leaving the country?

What happens if I get my credit card stolen or it gets misplaced while I'm travelling?

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