Nationwide card abandons no-fee withdrawal policy: Are you keeping yours?

9 March 2009

http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/4048/nationwidelogo4676516.jpgAs part of the Bitterwallet Guide to Currency Exchange, we wrote a basic guide on 'picking the right credit/debit card  for abroad'. Nationwide was mentioned as a second choice only to the Abbey Zero.

A few readers at the time disagreed that the Abbey Zero should be a first choice, due to Nationwide's 'no withdrawal fee' policy at the time.  It however now appears now that Nationwide is losing the battle.

According to website LoveMoney (thanks, MinstrelMan!), Nationwide has just decided to abandon their much loved 'no fee' policy:

Until now, the brand famous for its 'proud to be different' motto has absorbed any extra overseas charges. However, from 6th May, it will start to pass on fees charged by Visa for transactions abroad - currently 0.84% (rising to 1% in July).

Nationwide has also been criticised recently for failing to keep pace with cuts in the Bank of England base rate, with both mortgage holders paying more, and savers getting less from the interest rate shake-ups.

But before you go closing your Nationwide account, here's 3 things to note first:

(1) the majority of European countries are not affected by this change. Here is a list of these countries. That means if you don't travel much outside of Europe, you may just be okay.

(2) Nationwide's cash cards are not affected, as they are issued by rival Mastercard. According to Nationwide, a Visa version will soon follow.

(3) Nationwide still remains an attractive option compared to rates of other credit/debit cards on the market. (The original article goes into much more depth, and is worth a quick read.)

There is certainly still plenty on the minds of the four million FlexAccount customers affected this week. With limited choice in decent cards for using abroad, what do you plan to do with yours? If this is an issue affecting Visa, would the Abbey Zero follow suit, leaving us to dry at home with an ever fluctuating exchange rate?

[LoveMoney]

13 comments

  • Robin
    Nationwide have been one of the few mortgage providers that HAVE cut their SVR when the base rate has fallen... SVR is currently 2.5%!
  • Tin
    Fair do's to Nationwide for only passing on the charge rather than profiting from it. The linked article mentions the Abbey Zero isn't even available any more. I think that means the Abbey card "lost the battle" a while ago?
  • highguyuk
    This news story is quite old - this information was released at least a week ago. Please keep up BW.
  • tits
    europe isn't affected, so who cares? shame about the USA, but **** happens.
  • Bob M.
    Nationwide are currently the better out of the lot. a 1% charge in foreign withdrawals outside of europe... you'll still do better than getting your exhanges in the UK. In UK TLR was 1.8 for £1, in Turkey it was 2.6 TLR for £1. Do the math...you still win.
  • Wull
    Who wants to go to Europe with THAT exchange rate anyway??
  • SimbaK2K
    Hell yeah, you haven't got much choice for debit cards anyway, and they are still the cheapest by a long shot. Plus, my mortgage with them is down down down so if I have to pay 1% for USA transactions, fine! I'm saving far greater then that on my mortgage.
  • Col
    This the last reason that made NW any good. Sick of hearing about no shareholders so better for customers - how? They are not competitive on any product right now- extremely un-competitive interest on savings, cashback credit card that pays about 0.1% (whats that about?) The only reason the SVR mortgage is going down cos of the base rate guarantee which I'm sure will be scrapped as well soon enough. Least the NW board members with still get their bubbly at all those member meetings.
  • james
    I only use the VISA credit card for non UK costs eg on holiday, non UK websites, because of the no fee, great exchange rate. Reading the stuff, will the fee be applied on currency transactions on the credit card (I don't have a flexaccount). I think it will, but aren't 100% sure. I've applied for the PO card just in case!
  • MinstrelMan
    Wull...... if your going europe, go all inclusive.
  • J-Bo
    A little known fact about a little known BS - The Cumberland Building Society do not charge for cash withdrawals abroad from their visa debit cards. CBS is based in Cumbria, but you could probably open an account over the phone with them.
  • Minge m.
    FINALLY a story which was of interest to me :) ................................... gudufff falls off chair onto floor Cheers Vince Wang aka 'Vince VVong' ??
  • kladionice
    Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I'm inspired! Very helpful information specially the final phase :) I deal with such information much. I used to be looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

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