How much does it cost to use your debit/credit card abroad

Nowadays, it’s common to spend a weekend abroad for shopping or sightseeing. It is also frequent to buy games or music/movie subscription online. The common point between this two situation is the mean of payment, credit/debit card. The most common way to pay your purchases online. But many people doesn’t know how much does it cost to use their debit or credit card abroad & online.

I will use this story to explain you how much does it cost to use cards from traditional banks and how to save money by using them right and using multi-currency cards.

Are you telling you what is a multi-currency cards ? It is a card that can pay online or in shop with the interbank rates. No fees or mark-up on the exchange rates.

Your traditional banks put fees and mark-up on transaction and exchange rate like others online services as Paypal. I will explain below with my own debit and credit card statement how much you spend with fees and mark-ups at UBS in Switzerland.

In 2018, I made two trips, one to Madrid and the other one in Newcastle, England. During the trips, I used my debit, credit card from UBS and Revolut.

Travel expenses

Madrid, Spain ??

Newcastle, UK ??

Here is the comparison of fees between different payment methods used abroad:

In this comparison, I do not take into account what your bank charges you each month for one of these cards.

You will find a list of some fees for the major Swiss banks but do not mention markup on exchange rate. Most of the cards provided by your traditional banks are not made to be used abroad.

You will find below a selection of multi-currency cards to avoid a maximum of fees which are very often hidden by your bank.


Debit card-No monthly service fee — withdrawal free up to 200£/2%

Definitely the best solution to avoid all the fees. Most of the time, you have to use the card to pay and you can withdrawal for the places where it is not possible to pay with cards. Save up as much as 5% to 10% when you are travelling.

Swissquote Silver

Free the first year/100CHF a year — 3.5% (min 5€) per withdrawal — Accept crypto currencies

Definitely the best solution in Switzerland. Compared to Revolut, It costs you to withdrawal and you have a yearly fees. If you spend more than 3’500 CHF in other currency, you can save money as much as the yearly fees and get rewards for your trading. One important thing, it?s almost the only real bank that offers you a multi-currency card and crypto-currency (transfer in/out).


No monthly service fee—withdrawal free up to 200£/2% —0.3% fee on most common currencies

The last not the least, Transferwise, well-known for their cheap for sending money abroad, offers a debit card with a borderless account. No hidden fees. Very interesting for people traveling a lot and receiving money from abroad because you have US, UK, EU & Australian IBAN.

There is others cards available but depends on the country who live in. The list of all the multi-currency cards are available here

Another post will come with my online expenses and how you can save money on it.

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