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US spending – payment card options.

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  • Mick S

    I’ve typically used AMEX Gold for the double points, and taken the hit on the fee.
    However, with Revolut and Curve Metal at my disposal I’m thinking of leaving the AMEX at home because I did rack up a lot of fees last time I went.

    What are others doing?

    stevenhp1987

    Chase Debit. 1% cashback, no FX fees.

    Alternatively use Curve linked to Barclaycard Avios / VS cards.

    NorthernLass

    Revolut – load it with the monthly amount you get with no fees for the few months before you travel and enjoy the feeling of no bill at the end of your trip!

    Mick S

    Revolut – load it with the monthly amount you get with no fees for the few months before you travel and enjoy the feeling of no bill at the end of your trip!

    one last hurrah with credit card top-ups then 🙂

    NorthernLass

    Well – it remains to be seen what happens if you do it the bendy way after July 8th lol.

    Mick S

    Well – it remains to be seen what happens if you do it the bendy way after July 8th lol.

    defintely fees involved if you go the bendy route, that has caught me out a couple of times when I’ve topped up and selected bendy rather the credit card directly. (using apple pay). I ended up removing bendy from my apple pay to stop it happening.

    Roberto

    Metal Curve with Virgin, Hilton or Avios BC for me unless I am purchasing flights and then I do sometimes use the Gold Card for triple points depending of what I am chasing at the time.

    SteveJ

    What’s the Revolut conversion rate like?

    Do you need to have converted and hold the balance in USD? Would you get a worse rate if leaving the balance in GBP had having the transactions convert when they hit?

    davefl

    Done 6 weeks in the US this year so a lot of experience. It’s about which card will actually be accepted for the transaction. You may have to deal with contactless, insert card + pin, insert card + signature and just insert card with nothing. Often the transcation will fail and you’ll have to try another. Sometimes get asked for zip code (especially places like the CTA in Chicago at the ticket machines) where you can use the 3 digits of your postcode followed by 00. Ordering food online for takeout or collection is a lottery as to whether it’ll be accepted or not.

    All the above types will fail randomly at one time or another and had to try 2nd or 3rd card.

    My go to options at the moment for zero forex were Barclaycard rewards (0.25% cashback card), Virgin Money current account debit card, and lastly Halifax Clarity.

    For stats on what works I put something like 100 transactions through the Barclay, 10 as fall back on the Virgin when barclay didn’t work
    plus 5 zero fee cash withdrawls (US cash machines added $3-5 depending on ATM), and then all my Uber and Lyft were on the Halifax.

    Barclay barfed once for suspected fraud when I bought some CDs (after 2.5 weeks in the US) but the guy swiped it again and it went through, followed up by a SMS from barclay asking if the transactions were valid about 30 mins later.

    Mick S

    What’s the Revolut conversion rate like?

    Do you need to have converted and hold the balance in USD? Would you get a worse rate if leaving the balance in GBP had having the transactions convert when they hit?

    that certainly the recommendation if using a cashpoint. As for card payments, not sure on best approach.

    can

    Curve with Virgin was good to me

    Wally1976

    Did I read somewhere that Curve is currently fee free at weekends too?

    NorthernLass

    I used Revolut on our recent BOS trip for pretty much everything and had no declines. Needed to input the PIN a few times but that seems more common in the US these days anyway. Prior to that had no issues using it in GCM pre-pandemic where most things are priced in $ US. Also no issues using it in Tenerife and Majorca last year, mostly for contactless payments.

    memesweeper

    Dollar ICC Amex
    Chase
    Curve + something useful

    … in that order of priority

    dougzz99

    Done around 5 weeks in US this year. Use a mix of curve + Barclays Avios, and Lloyds and Nationwide zero FX cards. Agree with davefl, expect cards to randomly fail, pin, no pin, and occasionally even be asked for electronic signature. I’ve usually used Amex Gold for gas, as the postcode + 00 has never worked for me, but most recent trip finally had success with postcode. I have a Citibank dollar account and always carry the debit card as that’s never failed to work when other things have had issues.

    As an aside I don’t think zip codes ending 000 are valid, if the third number of your postcode happens to be 0 as mine is.

    SteveJ

    Did I read somewhere that Curve is currently fee free at weekends too?

    Done some digging, seriously good offer. The normal £1k limit only applies on weekdays

    https://community.curve.com/t/no-fees-overseas-on-any-card/41721

    We’re doubling the monthly limit on Curve Standard, so you can spend up to £1000/month fee-free on weekdays. There’s no monthly limits on how much you spend on weekends

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    Philondon

    I’ve been in the US a fair bit since December. I use my UK Chase debit card in Chase cash machines. Free withdrawals and no ATM fees. Apparently some banks charge a fee.

    I use my Halifax Clarity card for all spending except cash. Although it did get rejected a couple of times then I had to use my Amex.

    Skywalker

    If you’ve had an Amex account for 6 months + and you plan to be in the US for a while, you can get one of these Amex MR cards issued in USD (same like the UK format, free basic (no rewards), green, gold, platinum):

    https://www.americanexpress.com/icc/cards/index.html

    You can settle the bill using your Revolut US or Wise US accounts.

    If you plan to go down this route, I found out recently it is a really slow clunky manual application process. Takes about a month.

    Luca M

    I’ve been in the US a fair bit since December. I use my UK Chase debit card in Chase cash machines. Free withdrawals and no ATM fees. Apparently some banks charge a fee.

    I use my Halifax Clarity card for all spending except cash. Although it did get rejected a couple of times then I had to use my Amex.

    Most US atm will charge a fee fo usage to non Customers (so that include all foreign Debit and Credit cards). In that, a Chase UK debit card is unique as it won’t incur a fee at the widespread Chase US atm’s across the country. If you have a UK Santander Select DC, you may do the same at US Santander ATM, but those are only present in few east coast cities.

    We also have few Forex free CC (Santander Zero, Barclaycard Rewards, MBNA Horizon Cashback), but ended up using Chase UK DC everywhere in our last trip to California in March. The cashback was great and I managed to even switch the Credit Card on hold at both hotels and car rental, with the Chase DC when checking out/returning the car. Until the 1% cashback last, there is simply no better return

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    Reney

    Well – it remains to be seen what happens if you do it the bendy way after July 8th lol.

    I got a shut down notification about 3 days after a £10 top up using bendy – thought I try out an alternative ahead of time. Clearly a bad idea.

    Harrier25

    Well – it remains to be seen what happens if you do it the bendy way after July 8th lol.

    I got a shut down notification about 3 days after a £10 top up using bendy – thought I try out an alternative ahead of time. Clearly a bad idea.

    Was it a definite shut down or a warning to shut you down if you tried it again?

    Curve does seem to becoming a little toxic these days within the industry.

    duggie1982

    I dont have Revolut and obviously not widely known loop hole but since its getting shut down, how can i get on board before 8th july? Topping up with credit cards or bendy??

    duggie1982

    Hoping barclaycard avios could work for collecting points?

    yonasl

    Revolut – load it with the monthly amount you get with no fees for the few months before you travel and enjoy the feeling of no bill at the end of your trip!

    You are then using a debit card not and lose all protections attached to credit cards.

    yonasl

    I have been using Tymit on recent trips and really like it.

    No FX fees and you can spread your spending over 3 months for free.

    The bad thing is you cannot get much money from Cash Points (ATMs) so still need to carry a Halifax clarity with you.

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