High Street Bank to Implement Overseas Debit Card Fees for 3 Million Customers

Metro Bank is introducing a 2.99% fee on all debit card transactions made outside the UK starting August 29, including in Europe, which is currently free. Customers withdrawing cash from their accounts abroad will also pay the 2.99% fee plus an additional £1.50 ATM fee.

Currently, Metro Bank allows its approximately 3 million customers to spend on their debit cards and make cash withdrawals in Europe without fees. However, last week, customers received an email informing them of the new charges for transactions in all foreign countries starting in August.

The email, sent on June 27, stated: “After August 29, 2024, debit card payments made in a foreign currency outside the UK will be charged 2.99% on the converted British Pound value of the transaction. Cash withdrawals made in a foreign currency using your debit card outside the UK will be charged 2.99% on the converted British Pound value plus a £1.50 ATM fee. This charge applies to each transaction.”

Although a 2.99% fee may not seem significant, the costs can add up quickly as the fee is applied to every transaction. For instance, if you spend £20 on your card, you will incur a 60p fee. If you make five £20 transactions, you’ll spend an extra £3 in fees. For cash withdrawals, the charges are even higher. Withdrawing £100 in foreign currency would result in a £2.99 charge, plus the additional £1.50 ATM fee, totaling £4.49.

One customer expressed disappointment, stating, “It’s very disappointing to note Metro Bank will be charging the fee. I have had this account for well over 10 years explicitly to use in Europe. On occasion, there have been large sums in the account, but unfortunately, it will be canceled on August 29. I now need to find another free debit card.”

A Metro Bank spokesperson confirmed the change, adding, “Over time, we’ve seen our customer’s needs and expectations evolve, and the demand for this service has been declining over several years.”

What do other banks charge?
First Direct: No fees for using a debit card to make payments or withdrawals in foreign currency. Daily cash withdrawal limit is £500 or the foreign currency equivalent.

HSBC: Customers with a HSBC Global Money Account can spend and withdraw cash abroad fee-free. Other customers will be charged 2.75% for shopping and 2.75% plus a 2% fee for cash.

Lloyds Bank: Silver and Platinum account customers can use their debit cards worldwide fee-free starting July 1, 2024. Silver accounts cost £10 per month, while Platinum accounts cost £21 per month.

Monzo Bank: No foreign transaction fees for debit card payments. Main account holders can make unlimited fee-free withdrawals in the European Economic Area (EEA) and up to £200 every 30 days elsewhere. After that, a 3% fee applies.

Santander: Santander Edge, Edge Up, and Private Account debit cards allow fee-free withdrawals and spending abroad. Other accounts charge 2.95% for purchases and withdrawals.

Starling Bank: No fees for using your debit card abroad.

TSB Bank: TSB Spend and Save Plus account holders pay no fees on debit card transactions worldwide. Other account holders pay 2.99% in fees on transactions and 1.5% on withdrawals. No fees for cash withdrawals in Euros from EEA country ATMs.

Virgin Money and Clydesdale Bank: Virgin Money M Plus account holders are not charged for using their debit cards abroad, although some ATMs may still charge a fee.


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