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Visa debit - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
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Visa debit
I lost my debit card a while back. My bank has now sent me a replacement, but it's a Visa debit card. Not a huge issue, you might think. Apparently they've done it because "Visa is more universally accepted than Maestro". Nice theory - a more usable card - why would I not want that?

Well, read the small print. Foreign transactions are translated to sterling using the bank's exchange rate - they'll set that in their favour, that's for certain, but you know, I'm used to that, I already have a Visa credit card. It sucks, because they're already being paid by the retailer, but well, there probably are higher costs associated with international transactions. I can probably live with that.

But then they add a "transaction fee" of 2.75%. The f**k? Haven't you already made money on my transaction twice, you greedy bastards.

But three times isn't the charm, because they also charge a flat fee of £1.25 on point of sale transactions. So what they're saying is that if I spend £20 on my card in parts foreign, they'll charge me £21.80, plus whatever commission they're making off the exchange rate, or to put it another way, it's costing me 10% more than it would if I had a bank account in that country. As a very wise man once said "f**k that s**t". I'll stick with my Barclaycard when abroad.

I strongly urge you all to check the fees on international transactions with your cards. It's entirely possible you're being reamed too.
4 comments or Leave a comment
beckyc From: beckyc Date: November 30th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gah, yes, that is annoying.

A couple of years ago, I ran into that. I was very thankful when changing some cash before I went that the person serving me told me I'd pay extra going through visa debit than maestro even in the UK, so I could just go get cash out of the cash machine first and not pay it.
imc From: imc Date: November 30th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've recently been converted to Visa Debit by my bank too, although oddly I never had a problem with my Maestro card being refused…

According to what I can find out online (because of course I've misplaced the small print that came with the card) they will charge me an "exchange rate adjustment" of 2.75% but no extra fee for a purchase in a shop. (The MasterCard apparently charges me 2.99% instead.) However, they will charge me a minimum of £1.75 on top of that for taking cash out overseas with the Visa Debit card.
lnr From: lnr Date: December 1st, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not the visa debitness that's the problem. Nationwide for example have a visa debit card on their current account and have the most generous foreign currency policy around (their own exchange rate, but it's fairly reasonable and no flat fee or commission). I'd already switched to using the Nationwide joint account for the few transactions I make abroad, so I haven't checked if there's any difference between my personal old card and new card at HSBC on that front.
zenmeisterin From: zenmeisterin Date: December 1st, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was forced onto Visa Debit when my old Maestro expired as well. I wasn't happy about it at all but HSBC have discontinued their support for Maestro cards. I think I'll be sticking to an actual credit card if I go anywhere exotic.
4 comments or Leave a comment