Top tips for using your current account abroad this summer

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Press Release,Current Accounts

With the holidays in full swing, Kevin Mountford, head of banking at offers those jetting abroad some useful advice when using their current account abroad, and offers tips to avoid Brits spending over £670 million* in current account fees this summer.

  • offers top tips for people using their current account when on their travels
  • Planning ahead and notifying your provider can avoid getting blocked out of your account in another country

1) Notify your provider notice before you go
This can help avoid your debit card getting blocked by your bank, and can assist your provider in tracking genuine fraudulent use. If your bank registers your account being used in another country and you have not informed them of your whereabouts, they may suspect fraud and in some instances, immediately block or place a temporary hold on your account. Many will let you notify them right up to the day you are due to travel, and this can be done in branch, via the telephone, or online. Barclays has a holiday flag service on its site where you can register where you are travelling to and the time period, while Nationwide has an online travel notification form for customers.

2) Ensure your provider has your correct contact details
Your provider may try to contact you on your mobile if they spot any unusual account activity abroad. By making sure you have given them the correct number to reach you on, it will save you needing to make the initial contact yourself, preventing unnecessary hassle on holiday.

3) In the event of suspected fraud
If you suspect your card is lost or stolen, notify your provider as soon as possible. Additionally, if your provider suspects unusual activity on your account, they can take immediate action. For example, both Nationwide and HSBC place a temporary hold on the account until they have spoken to the customer. Halifax and Lloyds employs a number of methods to notify customers if they suspect fraudulent activity and make contact via SMS, automated dialing and a manned telephone fraud unit. It is always worth checking with your own provider its protocol for this, as it could prevent you becoming locked out of your account.

4) Check your debit card is accepted in your country of travel:
Some countries may not accept your debit card, so it's vital to check in advance of your trip. For example, the HSBC debit card is not accepted in Iran, Afghanistan or South Korea, while Halifax and Lloyds list North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Burma as excluded locations. However, the majority of countries do accept Visa, and you can check by country index those countries where your card can be used, by visiting Visa online.

5) Carry key contact details
Make a note of emergency and overseas customer service numbers for your provider, in the event that you may need to make contact when overseas. 0845 numbers are not always available from overseas.

6) Charges in using a debit card abroad
It always pays to understand the charges for ATM withdrawals and purchases before you go, and to shop around for the best product to meet your needs while abroad. Reading the small print before you depart could help you make significant savings. A pre-paid card is another option for those looking for maximum spending power while abroad. Best buys such as FairFX or CaxtonFX have no purchase, withdrawal or foreign loading fees and can be topped up online or over the phone for free. In addition, they also provide protection and quick access to a new card should yours be lost or stolen.

7) Keep up to date with your home affairs
Ensure that any standing orders or direct debits you might having coming out of your account will be covered while you are away. This will prevent additional charges and make sure you don't go into the red.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at said:  "Thinking about your current account may be the last thing on your mind as you prepare for a trip abroad. However, it's vital that you consider the small print and any potential charges before you set off, particularly if you plan to rely on your funds from your current account. Notifying your provider of your whereabouts takes a matter of minutes and can prevent a world of bother should your account become blocked abroad. Minimising the risk of fraud to your finances should be a top priority, and one that can ensure your holiday is an enjoyable one."

- Ends -

Notes to editors
* Barclays forecasts that total overseas debit card spending and cash withdrawals will hit £1.47 billion for the summer holidays.

The average % cash withdrawal charge for the high street banks is 1.86% - £273,420,000
The average % currency conversion charge for the high street banks is 2.71% - £398,370,000

Potentially a total of £671,790,000 being spent on fees during the six weeks alone

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