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What is the best credit card for foreign spend when someone else is paying?

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We write a lot on Head for Points about ways to minimise the 2.99% foreign exchange fee added to most credit and debit card transactions outside the UK.

For personal travel you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.  There are no travel rewards card without a foreign exchange fee.

My preferred credit card option is Tandem Money, which ticks all the boxes – no annual fee, no FX fee and 0.5% cashback on all of your spending.  We wrote about the Tandem Money cashback credit card hereI also recommend Revolut (the debit card you can load up from a credit card and spend with no FX fees) and Curve Card (no FX fees and your purchases are recharged to any linked Visa or Mastercard).

When you are travelling for work, however, your credit card bills will be reimbursed by your employer.  There is no incentive for you to get a separate 0% foreign exchange fee card.  Your goal should arguably be on maximising rewards for yourself.

I won’t focus on credit card spend bonuses here because those don’t change whether you are spending in the UK or abroad.  I just want to look at cards which increase your earning rate for FX transactions.

What is the best UK credit card for foreign spending?

Here are your options for cards which have bonuses for foreign spending, but in return add on a 2.99% FX fee:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – double points abroad, so 2 per £1.  That translates into 2 Avios or other airline miles, 4 Hilton points, 3 Starwood / Marriott points or 6 Radisson Rewards points amongst other things.  The card is free for the first year.  Representative APR 57.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. 

IHG Rewards Club Mastercard – double points abroad, so 2 IHG Rewards Club points per £1 which I value at 0.8p – 1p.  The card is free.  Representative APR 18.9% variable.

IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard – double points abroad, so 4 IHG Rewards Club points per £1 which I value at 1.6p – 2p.  £99 annual fee.  Representative APR 41.5% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

HSBC Premier Mastercarddouble points abroad, so 1 Avios or other airline mile.  The card is free but you must have a HSBC Premier current account which has strict eligibility criteria.  Representative APR 18.9% variable.  The World Elite version of this card, with a £195 fee, also earns double points abroad and is worth 2 Avios per £1.

As you can see there are some good options here that can get you a return of around 2% on your spending.  That is less than the 2.99% foreign fee you are incurring, of course, which is why these are not attractive deals for personal use, just for business expenditure.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Comments

  1. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Dubious

    • I question the various tax cheats and dodgy kickbacks from overcharging your employer almost every time it’s raised here, but it seems the vast majority think it’s ethical. (If you do it yourself of course – if anyone richer than you does it then it’s just awful and must be stopped!)

      • I don’t believe there are any UK corporate credit cards that offer zero FX fees. So on that basis if your employer allows you to use your own credit card then why not maximise the rewards for yourself!

        I do however agree that it kind of has a ‘dodgy’ feel to it and I don’t think it’s sensible to publish an article such as this. Some things are best left unsaid (and let people get on with it without shouting about it).

        • Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but a very large airline is about to launch an SME non-Amex credit card with 0% FX fees, a generous frequent flyer earning rate (as the card is not interchange fee capped), no 1st year annual fee and a fat sign-up bonus. Watch this space.

        • 🙂 I’m sure no one else knows given the 1,445,000 page views in Oct 18…

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          Rob – All I need is a referral link and I’m signing up….

        • When you say about to launch… what time frame are we discussing the next few weeks or few months?

        • Weeks.

        • @Rob – looking forward to hearing more!

    • But is Rich from HR using the best credit card to maximise miles? No, he’s paying the 3% fee and getting nothing in return. Because we know more about squeezing “value” out of situations, do we need to act as we would for ourselves even though others are just ignorant to the situation?

      • The last time I worked for a corporate, the policy included that you had to make spending decisions as if they were your own.

        • If I used my corporate card there’d be a 3% fee. Thankfully I have flexibility as to how I pay and what and how I book.

        • That is the policy at our place as well, but after telling our FD about my personal travel patterns – all booked on miles and sale fares, admittedly – he told me that didn’t apply to me.

        • That’s fine. Literally 90% of UK residents don’t use a 0% FX for overseas spending.

          I promise you, no company would want me to spend their money as I spend my own money. My old bank did but the ‘business class everywhere’ and £300 per night hotel allowance they gave me (£350ish today) is probably not that common – Anika may be virtually the last person in Britain on such a deal 🙂

        • If we’re being literal it’s going to be well over 99.5%

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          If we are being literal can it be well over 99.5%? There isn’t much further for it to go.

        • I prefer being littoral

    • I’m sure companies could clamp down on this if they we were so inclined. There are plenty of organisations where finance departments require employees to do everything via the most economical means available.

      • The only way they could clamp down on it is to issue corporate credit cards with zero FX fees and make it mandatory to use the corporate card. I’m not sure such a card exists though?

        • RakishDriver says:

          Exactly.
          Our company policy spells out that the corporate credit card is for booking flights, hotel, car/taxi only.
          All foreign exchange fees incurred from using own credit card is reimbursed.

        • My company policy is to use company credit card for everything. I am not allowed to use my personal cards. They don’t care whether there is FX fee or not. I moved a 2 years ago from another firm where it was pretty much free reign.

      • And there are plenty of other organisations with Supply Chain Management departments that appear to do the opposite!

      • Adam Brown says:

        It is up to the company to decide what they want you to do, they can issue corporate cards with a 0% FX fees but they choose not to. I have to assume that my finance team know what they are doing and believe that the 3% they have to pay on expenses is less than the cost they would have in issuing corporate cards.

        What they can not do, in my opinion, is force me to take out another line of personal credit to reduce their costs. I will pay for my expenses on the cards I have – As it happens this is the Lloyds Avios card with 0% which I use due to its higher earn rate, but once this goes down and loses it’s 0% FX I will not be taking out another one unless it works for me.

        • Obviously most people here are frequent travellers and therefore have 0% cards. This article is encouraging them to deliberately use a card with a bad rate so your employer pays for you to get extra miles.

          Logically, I’m struggling to see how this is any different to, for example, getting a shop to increase the price on the receipt by £20 and then giving you a £10 kick back.

          If the employer is fine with it then of course that’s great. If the right people were aware of what you were doing however I highly doubt most of them would be. I have sympathy with the “let’s screw over big business” movement and, if I’m honest, would probably do this myself if I could. Though I do think it’s similar to theft.

        • What does “if I could” mean? You’re unemployed so bearing a grudge against those with jobs? Or you’re self employed, in which case you are 100% certain to be playing games throwing in every potential personal charge as a ‘business expense’ including chunks of your rent, electricity bill etc?

        • @Callum. So I guess I would be guilty of theft given my knowledge of how things work (mens rea) but most other people who unknowingly pay with a 3% card wouldn’t (as they only have the actus reus)?

        • Genghis – Morally yes. I’m sure theft has a specific legal meaning that wouldn’t cover this though, I use the word colloquially.

        • “Logically, I’m struggling to see how this is any different to, for example, getting a shop to increase the price on the receipt by £20 and then giving you a £10 kick back.”

          In your example you’ve spent £10 and been reimbursed £20 which is different to spending £10 + x% fees and being reimbursed £10 +x% fees

    • Bothered!

    • the_real_a says:

      Not so much, my former employer preferred employees to use their personal cards as it kept the equivalent of 1 months worth of expenses off their balance sheet by extending their credit line via employees. The cost saved was MANY multiples of 3%. If they are using my credit line then i’m going to use whatever credit card i darn well please.

      • iamfugly says:

        Erm, I don’t want to drag this debate on but sorry to be an accounting geek. Some poor soul in the deepest darkest of finance back offices would most probably have to do a finger in the air job of accruing for any unapproved or non submitted travel expenses. So long story short, the liability would still be booked.

  2. OT: I have Platinum Elite currently and have a stay booked on 27th feb 2019 – will I still have my status until end of February 2019? Been reading conflicting views on whether this is beg feb or end feb (ie 28 feb 2019)

  3. Is really everyone elses employer reimbursing FX fees? What do you have to do to claim them? In our company foreign transactions are reimbursed based on the official MasterCard rate for that day.

    • I have been using my BAPP during considerable (and expensive) travels to the US this year as my employer does indeed cover the ‘total’ cost of the expense. Will look into the amex gold. Though I do already have a plat charge. Maybe I can do a self referral?

      • Yes you can do a self referral for the gold. Do it from your platinum charge for 18k MR points, provided you haven’t reached your annual referral limit of course.

    • I always put the £ rate based on credit card statement and supply a redacted CC if needed.

      The statements are a pain to do as its best to print, redact other lines, and then photocopy (the original tends to still be readable) – but after doing that once so the precedent has been set I can drop it with no problem. We are after all talking ~3% difference.

      Also which MC rate are your employers using, the day they process, or the day of the transaction? Clearly they are meant to repay the your actual costs!

      • They might be using Xero for expenses. Xero recently “upgraded” its expenses system. It now uses spot rate for the day and cannot be changed without an extremely cumbersome workaround.

      • We use concur. The GBP amount is entered, overwriting any in built exchange rate. I use snipping tool to build a word doc of GBP statement amounts and submit that.

      • Scallder says:

        MattC – if you want to redact just draw a black box over the items you don’t want showing – no need to print, redact by hand and photocopy back in 🙂

      • Transaction date. The credit card statement would work, too, but that is a lot of work to black all personal expenses as well as postponing reimbursement until after I got the statement from the credit card company.

      • Acrobat Pro has good redaction options that properly get rid of the underlying data do it can all be done electronically 🙂

    • What sort of weird company do you work for?

      • guesswho2000 says:

        I was wondering that, I just get reimbursed the actual cost based on the evidence provided. Once it hits your statement, that’s what it costs, and that’s the evidence I need to provide!

    • the_real_a says:

      Using our expenses tool you enter the exchange rate, you can line item “CC fees” but its accepted practice to just adjust the GBP amount, provided you supply supporting evidence.

  4. Rob, I think your statement of “your goal should arguably be on maximising rewards for yourself” could do with a bit of an integrity check. Perhaps you would suggest ordering 10 years’ worth of company stationary with the same card would also be a cracking idea as well to get more miles.

    • I am travelling next week 4 days to Oslo and spend 80h there far away from my family, my home, etc and get paid 32h standard rate. 48h of my own time I’m sacrificing for my company. Is that fair?
      Furthermore it is not stealing. It is a genuine costs that you made.

      • Why is it not fair? If you don’t like it then you shouldn’t agree to go.

        Furthermore, it IS stealing if your employer isn’t aware of what you’re doing. You might as well be sending in bogus receipts with fake expenses on while you’re at it.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Except they’re not bogus receipts, are they, they’re genuine receipts for genuine expenses incurred.

        • I didn’t say they were bogus receipts… I said they’re EQUIVALENT to bogus receipts.

          You’re charging your employer extra money to give yourself a kick back. How is it different to faking a receipt?

        • “How is it different to faking a receipt?”

          Because one is fake and the other isn’t. The 3% is the charge for using a credit card and it’s marked clearly on statements. An employer/whoever approves expenses will also see that so if they have a problem with it then they’ll presumably raise it as an issue.

    • thats ab absurdium

      • Thats to Bob, and should be “reductio ad absurdum”.
        I could have been a judge, but I didnt have the latin for it.

        • Okay, I’ll make a Curve-alike card which adds 10% to every forex transaction and pays you a kickback in £ or avios or whatever. Use that for all your employer-funded travel.

          Does that feel so honest now? Is 10% ‘a bit too fraudy’ but ~1-2% not? 🙂 Choose your level.

          Anyway, we do start to see cards with zero forex aimed at businesses. Admittedly mostly at the SME end, but Santander have one for instance. Tandem also market to businesses. If such a deal can be had at the SME end surely there are some lofty deals to be made as a large corporate.

    • RakishDriver says:

      The company wants to maximise my time, days away from family, flying over weekends etc.
      You either haven’t travelled for work, are a penny-pinching employer yourself, or your expenses claims have bounced back because of FX fees claims and so you now begrudge all who do get reimbursed.

      • Or you have morals and don’t believe theft is justified, whether you’re annoyed that you’re not being paid enough or not.

      • All these comments about the company ‘stealing my time’ are laughable. Clearly these people have never worked for themselves where going beyond a ‘stipulated work day’is the norm. Also, pretty sure none of them are in forced labour. Don’t justify any actions you wouldn’t be willing to tell your employer under the guise of being a fair trade for that employment you desperately seek.
        I say this genuinely not caring if people gain points on the spend, exploit the loophole, businesses do the same but this ‘poor me giving my time’ pity party is tiresome.

        • Working for yourself is not the same though. When you work extra hours for yourself you are rewarded for it either by increased income or by decreased expenses. Working for someone else and giving your time for free is a completely different beast. You are giving your time for the benefit of the company not, directly, yourself.
          “Also, pretty sure none of them are in forced labour” – true, but it isn’t always easy to leave a job in an area where unemployment is high (we don’t all work in areas where changing jobs is routine).

          Of course, I find all this “moral outrage” quite amusing. Peopel will find offence in anything these days.

      • RakishDriver says:

        @Callum @Jay
        My employer expects me to lose a sum of well over 24hrs of my life, a pop, getting from A to B and back. Time I will never get back or compensated for.
        In return, I expect to be able to do all the everyday things in another country that I would normally do when back at home – And that includes spending on my cards, points earning or otherwise – I’m not going to go out of my way to take out another personal credit card to save them FX fees.
        I see it as a reasonable, reimbursable expense incurred.
        You see it as theft. Au contraire, my bitter ones, I see it as me still being short-changed.

        • Spurs Debs says:

          Just a thought … were you forced to take your job and after accepting your position are you forced to stay in it?
          You come across as so hard done by for choosing a job that involves travel, it’s all a bit bizarre.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Hi Rob. With no mention of the MBNA Horizon card, just wondered why your favour Tandem over it?

    • Because you can’t apply for the horizon card, it was for people who already had MBNA accounts

      • Tks Lumma, didn’t know that. I have been using mine in Europe and found the rate comparable with my previous go-to card. Also just been sent a “Black Friday Double Cash Back Offer” of 1% cash back ’til 30 Nov. Wondered if Rob was going to mention it but I guess there’s no point if the card is not going to be widely available.

        • It was mentioned here and in emails sent to all customers a while ago
          But in principle I second your point re Horizon in general
          We always have arguments on this with my partner who uses Tandem and I use a combo of Revolut, WeSwap, Curve and Horizon 🙂

        • Damn, no email received here.

    • Because you can’t apply for it?

  6. Everytime this comes up a few virtue signallers pop up to claim fraud. They all seem to be employees getting offended on behalf of employers (like Rob). These are actual costs, and I employers think this is fine given the interest free loan they get from employees and the hassle of making the claims.

    If the employers gave me a corporate CC (which they should so I’m not out of pocket due to the interest free loan) they would be paying 3%. End of.

    • Indeed. And, as I’ve found recently, if you incur a personal loss whilst travelling with work, most employers will not cover you. You’re on your jack jones.

      Which is why I use my Amex plat rather than the corp card. Everything goes on here. The points are handy, but the insurance ensures I’m covered for my own stuff.

      And, Rob, you forgot that if you’re using the Green Amex Corp card, you can pay Amex £30, and be able to earn points on that too. That way, you can STILL earn points, using the company issued card 🙂

    • They’re probably the sort of people who think you shouldn’t take the compensation for a delayed train journey when you’re on a business trip

    • They need to read the definitions of theft and fraud!

    • the_real_a says:

      They will be saying that you should use your miles for work travel next… 🙂

      • Memesweeper says:

        Believe it or not, some Civil Service contracts demand exactly that! I know at least one who would go out of their way to demonstrate they have not earned Clubcard points , Avios etc on expensed travel.

  7. What is the best card for cash withdrawals abroad in foreign currencies? Or will this get its own article?

    • Shoestring says:

      Hard to beat Halifax Clarity – ‘perfect’ exchange rate, no ATM fee and if you fund the account straight away, no interest.

      • “If you fund the account straight away”

        i.e. work out what day you reckon it will hit your account (remembering that an 8pm transaction in LAX is actually the following day in London), find some free wifi, work out the exchange rate, make the payment. Repeat when you decide you want an extra $20 tomorrow.

        In my view, Clarity is for people who can’t think of anything better to do on holiday than faff about with online banking to save a few £.

        • If you’re some kind of weird perfectionist you might do that. The equally effective process I take which takes under a minute to do (and doesn’t need to be the same day the withdrawal hits the account) is:

          1) Log onto the app
          2) Guess how much the cash withdrawal was in GBP.
          3) Transfer that amount.

        • Yeah I find Monzo/Starling (or Revolut on weekdays) much easier as I can see the balance and get instant notifications.

      • The Barclays card is better – interest on cash is the same as purchases.

      • If you do use Flex Account Plus as a debit card you will get hit with a transaction fee (2.75% I think?) Just made that mistake when in a hurry at a petrol station.
        On the plus side they covered a pre-existing medical condition with no surcharge. However received an email yesterday saying the age upgrade cost is going up from £50 to £65 and the age limit reducing from 75 to 70, so that could be a factor for some.

      • Even if you don’t pay off your Clarity bill until you get home the rate is still very good. I also use Revolut for the £200 free withdrawals a month

    • I use Starling due to no limits, but no rewards. Also withdrawal doesn’t come through to credit report (à la Halifax Clarity, but this never caused me an issue in the past).

      I don’t use cash that much but in some places it’s important. Eg. Last week in Paris I used 100% card. Later in the week in Marseille (quite a bit of “oh the card machine is broken. Cash only so I can pocket it and the tax man not see a centime” (slight embellishment there on the quote)) there were more cash payments. And for work cash I withdraw on Starling!

    • Barclaycard Platinum Travel. No rewards, but zero FX in any currency and zero faff.

      • Thanks for all the recommendations. Sounds like no consensus, I will look into these in the next few days.

  8. One of my employers had a ridiculous policy. If you had to make a purchase from, say, Tesco, you were not allowed to use a credit card nor collect the clubcard points. If your receipt showed either of these they would refuse to reimburse you. You would have to take the item back, get a refund and pay on a debit card without swiping your clubcard. That wasn’t tedious at all…

    • In what way does that affect your employer? Surely it’s better for them if an employee pays on a credit card as they won’t need to be reimbursed so soon as if using a debit card?

      • I’d imagine they’re trying to stop the dodgy people on this thread ripping them off. That’s what tends to happen when you abuse trust.

    • Shoddy policy. Name and shame them

      • Rhys (our intern) has just booked a Virgin Trains ticket and I’m planning to fire him if he HASN’T taken Nectar points or Virgin Flying Club miles from the trip 🙂

        He still has a Railcard too, which is a benefit of getting young people on the payroll 🙂

        • My old firm *refused* to pay for a colleagues railcard (he was travelling to work locations on a Sunday evening, returning on a Friday evening). As there was a risk “that he might enjoy the benefit for personal travel”. Farce, it would have saved over £1,000 over 6 months.

          This was the firm that had me on disciplinary (and 4 weeks gardening leave in August) after finding myself in a position where I’d have to break one of two rules.

          – You must travel using the cheapest available ticket.
          – You must not travel First Class.

          The cheapest, by £100, return ticket was two Advance First Class Singles…

        • If you’re paying, he shouldn’t have used his railcard. He should have maximised the benefit to himself by booking a full fare ticket for the extra tens of Virgin points! 😉

        • I let him pay for it (then reimbursed) but I forgot he can’t get a credit card yet so it just went through his debit card – which meant I should have done it for him on one of mine ….

        • A two-together or family railcard is useful if you are not young.. this is also coming soon which will be helpful to some readers I’m sure…

          https://www.26-30railcard.co.uk

        • And come end of November, railcards are available at 3x on Tesco clubcard, a great deal with no opportunity cost like at present (currently 2x).

        • @John – but not much use if you are travelling alone!

          If you happen to live in the South West then the GWR Devon & Cornwall railcard is very good whether travelling alone or with others

    • the_real_a says:

      That’s standard in the public sector for directly employed individuals… (At least in those areas that know)

    • TGLoyalty says:

      no worries you can retro claim after you have checked out but not left the store and no one knows,

  9. Does anyone know the profit margin for CC companies when they charge a 2.99% fee? Just curious. Often they give the most points back.

    I used to work for a large consulting compant. They gave employees their own amex card so they’re obviously getting points from travel and other spend. Obviously you have to be sensible. If your company doesnt offer a company card you have to feel comfortable spending money on your own card and if you already hold one of the above, which many people go on personal holidays too but still want to collect points, there is no point of getting a new card

  10. One other thing, slightly related. I once made friends with someone senior from shopping.com

    They used an amex to pay for absolutely everything in the company. EVERYTHING. Obviously, the points that they earn was fantastical. What did they use the points for? To ensure that, when people travelled on business, they were upgrade to business on longer flights.

    What a genius idea 🙂

    • When I was an employee I worked for a large Finance house where the director’s secretary’s booked their director’s travel and credited the points to their own account.

      • At my wife’s City bank, 3 members of staff stole all the OnBusiness points accrued by the business. They were then fired and instantly rehired by competitors …

        • It’s just means the business didn’t bother to administer the OB points itself and tried to cover up its own shortcomings by firing people who just took an advantage of its passive behaviour…

        • You can’t actually “steal” points as they have no legally recognised value. I imagine that if the bank tried to have the employees prosecuted it would have been advised that no criminal offence had actually been committed and ultimately they were sacked for breach of company policy or contract.

        • Slightly depressing that their competitors were quite happy employing folk that had done that. Doesn’t exactly reflect well on them!

        • Willingness to turn a blind eye to rules and regulations is still a factor in your favour when job hunting in the City,

        • Lol how reassuring – plus of course with the taxpayers ready to bail them out too 😉

  11. OT: Curve are hinting the return of amex in their upcoming blog post via twitter

  12. Lloyds Amex still clinging on for those lucky enough – recently pushed a few K through on a trip via the Amex, they even kindly doubled my avios despite now being beyond the six month double-up period. 2.5 avios per £, 0% Fx and another 16 months to run interest free.

    Don’t forget it if you still have it!

    • So – if you stopped spending when you receive the closure notice, you could do a balance transfer from another card and enjoy the full interest free period (obviously if you then make any purchases you get hit with interest)?

  13. Daniel Evans says:

    Is this considered ethical regardless of who the employer is? Are large corporates, charities, local government and SMEs all fair game? It does seem like a betrayal of trust to deliberately use a card with an FX fee if you have one that doesn’t charge such fees.

    • Adam Brown says:

      The card that is used is a personal thing and there are many reasons why you may choose one card over another. I use a FX fee card to pay for Car Hire instead of a non FX fee card because the fee card comes with free hire car insurance. If I did not use it the costs would be even higher (And I could earn more points) but the fact is that this is what works for me.

      If a company wants to select the card their employees use then they can provide them with a card, otherwise why should they dictate how people amass personal debt.

      • Daniel Evans says:

        My point is, if you are spending money on behalf of your employer and you have a choice whether to earn points on an FX card and pass on the fee or pay on a non-FX fee card I would say it’s pretty clear which option is the more ethical.

        • Adam Brown says:

          So if they want to ensure which card I use they are free to provide one. Otherwise there are hundreds of different reasons why I wouldn’t. My employer does not have the right to tell me how to manage my money.

  14. Daniel Evans says:

    What about when you are on holiday with a large group of friends? Is it OK to pay the restaurant bill on an Amex card with an FX fee but earns points when you have another card in your pocket which would save everyone a bit of money?

    • Adam Brown says:

      To be honest whenever I have paid for friends I have not charged them the FX fee. I pay on my card and they give me the Euros for their share. So what card I use is my own business.

      • Daniel Evans says:

        If you are not passing on the FX fee of course that’s fine but if you were to be really shady you could choose an FX fee card just to earn points from your “friends”.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Unlikely, as they’d give you the EUR (or whatever currency) amount after the meal surely? I’ve never known anyone to go on holiday and pay for everything, then invoice their mates in GBP when they get home.

        • Really? Have done it all the time with friends. We each pay for whatever then settle up when we get back – some have paid for accommodation, some for car hire, some for meals, etc. Find it easier to settle in GBP after home and not worry about cash at the time.

        • Adam Brown says:

          If we are just going to pick random examples – How about if you have a 0% FX fees card but when the bill comes instead of using it you kill a puppy? is that theft?

          The objections seem to believe that Finance departments are completely staffed with morons. People working in finance departments (If they are worth their wages) will know that 0% cards exist and will have calculated the savings by making staff sort out their own expenses and the benefits to cashflow and will have made an informed decision.

          Another area that this is done is Mileage. My work has a fixed mileage allowance regardless of if I drive my 4×4, my City car or my motorbike but all of these have very different costs. When I registered my Bike I asked if it was the same repayment rate and was told that it was easier for them to have a set amount than to try and calculate the running costs for every journey for every vehicle. So was I stealing when I rode my bike? knowing that I was receiving much more than I spent out? Should I have repaid a set amount on those journeys? Was the extra amount given made up for by the fact I would arrive an hour earlier than if I drove?

          The morality or otherwise is between company and employee and what works for both of them.

        • I doubt they’d be too bothered about paying 50p extra, for example. Not that if charge them the fx fee

        • Anyone planning ‘shady’ behaviour with their friends is just generally not a good person though are they?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          i think they’d probably do better out of the rounding call it £300 not £304.50 etc

          either way they have done considerably better than if they exchanged cash before we flew out.

        • @Adam Brown and others
          This is exactly the reason why we need consider investing in tools like the one below:
          https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/4607834/Autotrip%20-%20Investor%20Summary%20Nov%2018.pdf

          They have just started a new funding round which you are all welcome to participate

          (I have no direct affiliation – just remembered about complaints here while reading their prospectus)

  15. M Corrêa says:

    Still no mention to Aqua card, despite having the same offer as Tandem. I know your considerations about initial credit limit but they offer very generous limits after some time. You could use the new editors to write about it – could be beneficial to some of your readers. 🙂

    • What is the point getting a credit card aimed at ex-bankrupts and credit defaulters (eg Aqua), which usually comes with a £500 credit limit and which may cause problems on your credit report, when you can get Tandem instead?

      • Why would it cause problems on a credit report, assuming you stick to the terms of the agreement / pay in full etc.?

        Is it the name “Aqua” or type or card (in the same way that a payday loan sinks a mortgage application) that causes a problem?

        • Aqua cards are marketed as cards for people who struggle to get credit elsewhere due to bankruptcy or other previous issues. It is unlikely that it wouldn’t raise some flag on a credit report although clearly it won’t make much impact if everything else looks OK.

      • Huh? Surely you must know the names of your creditors aren’t visible to those running a credit check? What am I missing here? Are you just extrapolating your snobbery on this topic?

        • Aqua also need a phone call prior to spending overseas , not required with curve.

        • Depends on which service is used, remember that the file is being accessed with consent. Obviously the applicant will also usually be required to disclose who the credit card providers are and the extent of facilities with the application.

          The “wrong” providers are a definite red-flag. Why would anyone choose a card from a specialist in bad & doubtful account holders when there are so many better cards on the market?

          The FoS & ICO have found in my favour on several occasions when I’ve received targetted emails these sub-prime companies to “improve my credit score” by taking out one of their cards. One complaint resulted in them undertaking a “soft search” without consent! £750 Kerching.

        • It doesn’t depend on the service used… They can’t see the names unless you specifically tell them or give them a copy of your report.

          I’ve never been asked to identify who my other creditors are. I guess they possibly could for mortgage applications?

          Though your insinuation that these companies specialised in lending money are incapable of making their own assessment of your credit report and would rely on what Aqua thinks of you is absurd in the extreme. It also doesn’t raise any red flags – how could it? Anything stopping you getting mainstream credit would have been reported on your credit report and they can see it’s not there. Not to mention, if you have Aqua alongside more prestigious/mainstream cards, it’s blindingly obvious that you are therefore able to get better cards making that a moot point anyway.

        • Quite frankly, given his background in finance and obviously high intelligence, I’m shocked Rob doesn’t seem to understand how credit searches work! (If I’m being an idiot and have missed something, please do let me know and I’ll gladly apologise!)

        • Callum.

          Perhaps you haven’t spent quite so much time in credit sanctioning as other contributors?

        • I can’t speak for the whole market but from what I know and experience @Callum is correct. The credit data that my co receive from Experian as part of the credit analysis process does not contain information on the names of other credit institutions.

        • I’m also unsure why Dave B is spreading misinformation about overseas spending. I’ve spent on my Aqua card in every country I’ve visited in the last 5 years. I have never informed them in advance that I am travelling. And I don’t recall the card being declined on a single occasion.

          It’s a good card.

        • I’m confused (and know nothing about the subject).

          I did a check on one of the comparison sites (I can’t remember which one!) a couple of weeks ago in advance of getting the Virgin Credit card. I was told it was doing a soft search. I was rated 95% likely to get it. I then applied but was referred. I hadn’t heard back after several days so out of interest went back onto the same site and did the same search. This time I was rated 0% likely to get it. Although it didn’t specify the reason for this, one of the possible reasons was I already had a card from that issuer. I had similar 0% ratings for two other issues with which I have cards (HSBC and Barclays) but nothing below 40% for any other cards.

          I then checked my spam folder and found an email from Virgin telling me I’d got the card. 🙂

          I did a similar eligibility check for my wife this weekend with Moneysavingsexpert. I think she was shown as pre-approved for the Virgin card but when she applied she was also referred. Checking back at Moneysavingsexpert for the same eligibility checker it is now showing her Virgin card likelihood as “Accepted”.

          Does this not strongly imply that soft searches give the names of the issues?

        • issues = “issuers” x 2… Sorry!

        • It was the 3% cash back that attracted me to Aqua in the first place. I’ll try my Aqua without informing them next time I am away. I’ve the curve to use.

        • This may not be seen as I know it’s a bit late, but the comparison site cannot see the issuers.

          Some of them have direct links to the individual lenders however, who will obviously know whether you’ve applied/received one of their cards or not. This is presumably how you get the “guaranteed acceptance” tag on those sites – which I’ve received from Virgin before.

          Andrew – I’ve spent no time in credit sanctioning, I merely know how it works. I always leave open the fact I could be wrong and ask for corrections (I’m not infallible!), but didn’t seem any can contradict me this time…

        • Read it and interesting thanks. A week on my wife still hasn’t had an acceptance email from Virgin! It certainly makes sense what you’re saying.

      • It is. But NewDay has a portfolio of products aimed at different people.

      • Although remember Curve exchange rate loading at the weekend, so I still find Monzo or Starling better (prefer the Monzo’s app).

  16. Interesting topic. What card does Anika use when she’s overseas, and would you ask her to open a 0% FX fees card (Tandem, Curve or Revolut) if she does not already have one?

    • Anika uses her Amex Gold, I repay it without question in full 🙂

      She has a Revolut, I don’t ask her to use it.

      • You should give her a 2.5% bonus on her expenses if she uses a 0FX and you’d both be 0.5% up (well she could be 1% up using a Tandem)!

        • Given that overseas trip expenses are 0.1% of our annual revenue (remember we never pay for hotels etc) I doubt we’ll be wasting mental capacity on that!

          Which of course is the attitude any sensible corporate would take …

        • Rob it’s almost like you have an understanding of how large business works… unlike some of the time wasters on here!

        • Shoestring says:

          It’s when your boss suggests you pay the big dinner bill (even though corporate policy is for most senior person to pay) that you know you’re not exactly going to run into problems with your expenses.

          I can’t remember ever getting questioned much about my expenses, they just took it on trust, as did I whenever I claimed an expense.

      • Would you consider paying my card off in full too?! 🙂

    • You can’t require someone to apply for a card in their own name – that would be entirely unreasonable.

  17. Comments are a good read today… For me, given a 2/3% (or whatever it may be) FX charge is pretty much industry standard then I see no issue using a card that does this, regardless of what other cards you have in the wallet. You haven’t taken out a card (certainly for 99% of people) simply to screw your employer, you are using one that you have anyway. If a company isn’t happy with it they are more than welcome to give you a corporate card, which will cost them money and still incur the FX charge. By using your own even with a charge you are saving the company cash vs that option.

    • It amazes me how otherwise well-educated people have such a flimsy grasp of legal definitions. If you added an extra 2.99% to your expenses claim and kept the money, then it would be theft or fraud. But that percentage goes to the credit card company and thus there is no tangible gain for the employee. Any loyalty points earned belong to the issuer so the employer suffers no loss in this respect either.

      • Not to mention the preference for many people, who use a personal Credit Card for work purposes, to keep a particular card exclusively for work.

        It makes things so much tidier and easier to ensure that expenses claims are settled in full.

  18. Comments today are full of opinions! Interesting!

    Completely off topic but in need of some guidance… I have roughly 8k Emirates points in my account and similar in my other halfs. 3k are due to expire in March – is there anything I can usefully do with them? I’m hoping to book some hotels for the summer but presume it’s not good use of points to transfer from MR or SPG points over to Emirates for hotels…? Very much appreciate some guidance!

  19. George K says:

    This is probably a revelation to just me, but I just booked a return BA flight originating from Europe and was hit by the FX fee. Had I known this was going to happen, I’d have used the Lloyds Amex which would have actually netted me more points too. I can see this both ways, but I was half-hoping that a UK company would always charge in GBP. Lesson learned, I suppose – if you see another currency quoted, then that’s your clue.

  20. BA reimbursed a “duty of care” hotel claim for me in GBP based on the hotel invoice I supplied in euros, and I lost out on the 3% fee that my card charged.

    What should I have done to get the full amount back?

    • I’d have supplied a copy of the CC bill line too – Amex website has a nice feature to allow you to print a PDF of a single transaction that shows the card fee.

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