How we calculated the total charges for each provider

High street banks

The published charges from these high street banks for a standard current account have been used to calculate the total charge. These can be found here:

Barclays travel money charges
HSBC travel money charges
Lloyds travel money charges
RBS travel money charges
TSB travel money charges

In addition to these charges, we have included the card scheme premium above the interbank rate. To quantify this premium, we've taken a basket of 6 currencies (EUR, USD, ZAR, AUD, THB, CHF) and calculated the difference between the daily card scheme benchmark rate and the average interbank rate (average is the mean of the high and low rates for the day). From 3rd January to 31st July 2022, the average card scheme premium equated to 0.52%.

Challenger banks

We have used these published challenger banks charges for a standard, free of charge current account to calculate the total charge:

Starling Bank travel money charges
Monzo travel money charges
Revolut travel money charges

It is worth noting that although Starling and Monzo charge no fee for standard transactions, customers do get charged the card scheme premium.

To quantify this, we've calculated the average card scheme premium for high street banks (see above). 

For Monzo, we have also included the ATM surcharge that would apply in the US. For Revolut, we have included the 2% ATM surcharge above £200, the 1% weekend surcharge for exchanging standard currencies (rather than the 2% for non-standard), the 1% fair usage premium for spend over £1000 and the £4.99 card delivery fee.

Travel money products

The published charges from these travel money products have been used to calculate the total cost where possible. Where the terms don't make the rate or spread available, we have used website rate calculators and failing that, talked through with customer services operators. 

The products are based on standard free-of-charge accounts but take no account of upfront charges for cards, inactivity fees, etc. For credit cards, no monetary value is associated with the potential negative impact on a customer's credit rating of withdrawing money from an ATM.

Curve travel money charges
Caxton travel money charges
Fair FX travel money charges
Travelex travel money charges
Post Office prepaid travel card  and travel money charges

For the Halifax Clarity card, charges are calculated as the applicable card scheme premium at 0.38% and the rate of interest that applies immediately to cash withdrawn from an ATM. This has been calculated based on a mean average of the quoted representative APR range at a monthly 1.801%, assuming the balance is paid in full one month after the withdrawal.

For Curve, we have included the 2% ATM surcharge for withdrawals over £200, the 2% surcharge that applies to spend over £1,000, the 0.5% surcharge for spending at the weekend in USD and the £4.99 card delivery fee.

For Caxton FX, we have assumed a pre-load of GBP converted into USD at the enhanced exchange rate which would apply to a $2k load. Note that in the scenario where GBP is loaded onto the card and not pre-converted to USD, an additional charge of just over 0.5% would apply, based on the quoted 2.49% charge and the card scheme premium.

For Fair FX, we have assumed the use of a Dollar card, pre-loaded using GBP converted into USD, at the rate spread quoted using the live rate calculator. We have also included the £1 ATM surcharge applicable to the dollar card. For the Fair FX everywhere card, with GBP loaded and not pre-converted to USD, a surcharge of 1.4% would apply, but Currensea were unable to establish the base rate spread over Mastercard which would apply to the transaction.

For CannyApp, we have netted off the 3% cashback from the base 7% spread charged to leave a 4% charge and included the card scheme spread on top of that.

For Travelex’s money card, we have included an initial 2% fee for GBP top-up and a further 2.4% charge for pre-conversion to USD. For non-pre-conversion, a rate of 5.75% applies, increasing the total charge by over 1%.

For the Post Office Travel Money card, we have assumed a top-up in GBP with a commission charge of 1.5% and spend in USD attracting a cross border charge of 3%. We have also included the ATM withdrawal charge. For pre-conversion, Currensea were unable to establish the rate spread from the terms and conditions or the website. Rates supplied via customer services on the phone indicated a similar premium versus interbank would apply on a non-promotional basis.