Person using a card to withdraw cash from an ATM

Taking cash out abroad? Beware of the fees

Taking a look before you go away will help you avoid any nasty surprises

Heading abroad for some pre-Christmas shopping, or going to spend Christmas in the sun or with relatives overseas?

If so, even though it’s become easier and easier to use your card abroad, it’s still worth thinking about how you’re going to pay for everything while you’re away.

What are the ATM fees abroad?

In general, if you’re travelling within the Eurozone and use your Visa Debit card, you won’t be charged anything over and above what you are normally charged by your bank for withdrawals.

The charges start to mount up when you use the card outside the Eurozone. When you withdraw cash, you’ll be charged a percentage of the transaction value, and you may have to pay a foreign exchange fee, too. Here’s what the main Irish banks charge for non-Eurozone transactions:

Bank Withdrawal charge Other charges  
AIB 2.5% of transaction Commission charge of 1%  
Bank of Ireland 3.5% of transaction (min €3.17, max €11.43) None  
KBC 3.5% of transaction (min €3.17, max €11.43) None  
permanent tsb 3.5% of transaction (min €3.17, max €11.43) None  
Ulster Bank 2% of transaction (min €3, max €12) Exchange rate charge of 1.5%  

If you want to find out more about these charges, check out your bank’s website or contact them directly. You can also compare fees across all current accounts on the market using the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s current account comparison tool. Remember, all of the above charges will be charged on top of the usual fees applied to your account.

If you would like to switch current account, remember that the Central Bank’s switching code makes it easy to do so.

Compare now

What are the charges for using a debit card to pay while on holiday?

Again, using your card within the Eurozone will not incur any additional charges, over and above what you normally pay. However, you will be charged if you use your card to make purchases in a different currency, as follows:

  • AIB will charge 1.75% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €0.45 and a maximum of €11.
  • Bank of Ireland charges 2% of the transaction value to a maximum of €11.43 per transaction.
  • KBC customers will be charged 1.75% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €0.46 and a maximum of €11.43.
  • permanent tsb charge 1.75% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €0.46 and a maximum of €11.43.
  • Ulster Bank customers will pay 1% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €0.25 and a maximum of €6, as well as an exchange rate fee of 1% of transaction amount, also with a minimum charge of €0.25 and a maximum of €6.

Is using my credit card abroad cheaper?

When using your credit card outside the Eurozone you will be charged a currency conversion fee, and - as usual - you will be charged a cash advance fee if you use your credit card to withdraw cash.

Remember, you’ll also be charged interest on any purchases and withdrawals on your credit card (unless you clear your card every month), so bear this in mind before you use it.

Read more on understanding credit card fees

How can I cut down on the charges while I’m abroad?

One way to cut down on the charges you face while abroad is to take out larger amounts of cash, rather than several small amounts. You’ll likely pay less in charges this way as most banks cap the charges on each withdrawals.

You could also consider exchanging cash before you go away - although many people don’t like travelling with large amounts of cash on them, which is understandable.

Do I have to let my bank know if I’m going on holidays?

Most banks do advise customers to let them know if they plan on going abroad and will be using their cards. While this may seem like a bit of hassle, it’s well worth doing.

The reason banks look for this is so that they can detect any fraud on your account - if you don’t let them know, they may cut off access to your account as a preventative measure, which no-one wants on their holidays!