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Holiday money charges to be made clearer

20 December 2011

Measures to provide customers with clearer information about using credit and debit cards abroad were announced by The UK Cards Association and the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) today (20 December). These changes have been achieved working with the OFT, following Consumer Focus’ super complaint.

The banking industry will be improving the information it provides about: choosing a current account or credit card; going abroad; and checking statements back at home. This builds on a range of earlier improvements aimed at helping consumers manage their finances.

In summary these improvements will:

Make it easier to compare services by:

Making charges more easily understood. The industry will work with the OFT to improve how it describes foreign transaction charges. This will be done by the end of 2012.

Help customers compare and pick the right product by:

Improving credit card summary box information. The UK Cards Association will undertake consumer research, in consultation with the OFT, to determine what consumers will find the most helpful way to show foreign transaction fees in credit card Summary Boxes on marketing material. This will particularly help frequent travellers where costs are an important deciding factor. This new information will be in place by the end of 2012.

Allow customers to compare different payment options before travelling by:

Making information more accessible. All banks and card companies have agreed to revamp their websites so customers will be able to see, at a glance, all the fees that apply. Information will also highlight circumstances where multiple charges may be incurred, for instance when using cards in foreign ATMs[1]. The UK Cards Association and the BBA will develop industry guidelines to ensure that consistent information is provided to customers. This will be in place by the end of 2012. However, from next summer, all customers will be able to call their bank to find out about the charges for using their card abroad.

Provide a better breakdown of travel money charges on current account and credit card statements:

Customers will begin to see this additional information from the end of 2012.

No longer impose debit card charges for purchasing currency or travellers’ cheques in the UK:

Those banks that currently impose charges for using debit cards when purchasing currency or travellers’ cheques in the UK have agreed to withdraw these charges.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of The UK Cards Association, said:

“Card use abroad has more than doubled over the past decade and this has happened for a very good reason. Cards are hugely convenient and offer consumers unique protections from loss and fraud that cash and travellers’ cheques cannot match. There are lots of different cards to choose from so it is important that travellers shop around for a card that is best suited to the way they want to use it.
“The industry wants its customers to be in control of their finances and to have the information they need to do this. We welcome the opportunity to work closely with the OFT to deliver refinements in a number of key areas that will really help customers make better choices about how they make purchases overseas.”

Consumer Focus’ super complaint was wide ranging covering a number of areas outside of the banking industry’s remit including bureaux de change and charges imposed by foreign retailers and cash machine providers.”


[1] Multiple fees could, depending on circumstances, potentially include a charge by the ATM owner, a foreign transaction fee, and a cash advance fee.

Notes to Editors:

The UK Cards Association is the leading trade association for the cards industry in the UK. With a membership that includes all major credit, debit and charge card issuers, and card acquiring banks, the role of the Association is both to unify and represent the UK card payments industry. It is responsible for formulating and implementing policy on non-competitive aspects of card payments including codes of practice, fraud prevention, major infrastructural changes, development of standards and other matters where cross-industry benefits are identified. More information about The UK Cards Association is available at

The BBA is the leading trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector. It speaks for over 200 member banks from 60 countries on the full range of UK and international banking issues. More information is available at

For further information please contact:

The UK Cards Association:

Press office 020 3217 8340/8316/8234/8368

British Bankers’ Association:

Press office 020 7216 8989

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