Careful with currency if your Maestro card has become VISA Debit

26 July 2010

Bitterwallet - VISA Debit currency charges different to MaestroA word to the wise if your bank has switched your Maestro card for a VISA Debit card in the past couple of months; watch out for unexpected fees when buying currency. It's a change that's bound to affect thousands of consumers about to head away for their summer holidays.

Natwest customers recently saw their Maestro debit cards phased out and replaced with VISA Debit cards, but unless you picked through their regular mailshots of changes to terms and conditions of your account, you'll have missed the fact that VISA Debit treats currency purchases very differently to the previous debit-style transaction:

"When you purchase currency from a travel agent or bureau de change it is treated, under the Visa Scheme, as a cash purchase. To process this transaction we pay a fee to the merchant (be that a travel agent or bureau de change), therefore we have made a decision to make a charge for this type of transaction."

While Maestro never carried a charge for buying currency, cash purchases of currency using VISA Debit attract a 2% transaction charge, from a minimum of £2, up to a maximum of £5. Wheras a couple of months ago, you might have thought nothing of sticking your Maestro card in the chip and pin machine at the bureau de change, now you'll be better off withdrawing the money from a cash machine before you reach it.

TOPICS:   Economy   Banking


  • maxtweenie
    Robbing bastards.
  • KMS s.
    Yay! Proper news! Finally :D
  • Ballu
    good post... nationwide visa debit is good for going abroad. can be used at ATM's and merchants fee free...
  • ElBuc
    Worse news: while your old NatWest Maestro debit card was a lovely gold colour, the new Visa Debit are BLUE?!!! I WANT MY GOLD CARD BACK YOU FUCKERS!!
  • tfeb
    great post and thanks for the heads up BW
  • Stewie G.
    Something useful for a change, as opposed to a picture of a dog with big tits.....
  • Internet T.
  • Peter
  • Gunn
    Didn't know this, I asked the bank why they were changing, they told me that VISA was more accepted throughout the world than Maestro, so it was a good thing. Yet I thought Maestro was well supported ??
  • ElBuc
    They told me all other charges were the same, but for paying for things abroad it is 'generally' better to use your credit card as it will have a better exchange rate (but this varies).
  • Dave
    I never knew this was the case with Visa anyway, and my Lloyds Visa nobbed me for a fiver after getting my Euros a few weeks ago. Harsh.
  • ElBuc
    Take cash to the post office - I think that's the cheapest way, isn't it?
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