Spending money abroad.
After countless trips over to the continent in recent years having a wonderful time exploring the only thing that left a bad taste in our mouths is the frankly ridiculous fee’s our UK banks charge for the privilege of using their cards abroad to access OUR money.
Knowing we were going to be spending much more time traveling we set about trying to find a way to minimise this!
Some relatively quick googling later we came across the Monza and Starling brands.
Both are internet based banks with super easy application processes that charge you ZERO for using them abroad.
They work like pre pay debit cards. You have to load money onto them to be able to use them.
The application process is so simple and aside from the rather embarrassing video they make you do of yourself reading from a script to prove you are who you say you are its really quick.
We applied to both banks and got a card each which arrived in less than a week and the cards are quite sexy too (if you like your designer looking stuff!).
An extra perk of these online banks is the apps. You can categorise your spending as you go and they do you lovely little graphics (charts) to detail your spend split. Handy if you want to keep track of what you are spending and on what.
The money loading process is really fast – you just use the sort code and account number and transfer direct from your current account.
The only downside (when I was using my husband’s card) if that it sends you instant messages with your spend details so whilst shopping for stuff the other week he knew how much I had spent before I had even gotten back to the car! No more hiding!
Thus far there has only been one place that would not accept them which was the toll bridge over to Ile De Ra. Otherwise it seems to be treated like any other card.
In addition the exchange rates they apply seem really reasonable and move as the markets move.
You can even take out cash although Monza does put a monthly limit on this at €200.
All in all a good find that’s reduced our outgoings via daft bank charges!