Santander markets itself as the only credit card that does not impose fees for withdrawals made abroad. The Santander Zero card allows users to complete transactions in foreign countries using the local currency free of charge. However, if users pay in sterling pounds, then the bank or retail outlet will have to convert it to local currencies, meaning that they will incur a conversion fee.
However, the bank charges interest on ATM withdrawals immediately, meaning that customers have to clear the balance to avoid incurring interest charges.
Santander Currency Exchange Rates
Last updated: Feb, 27 15:00
|Currency||Rate||750 GBP Buys|
|Costa Rica colons||669.09||501,817.50|
|East Caribbean dollars||3.2031||2,402.33|
|Hong Kong dollars||9.6782||7,258.65|
|New Zealand dollars||1.9737||1,480.28|
|Peruvian nuevo sol||4.0451||3,033.83|
|South African rand||19.146||14,359.50|
|South Korean won||1455.5||1,091,625.00|
|United Arab Emirates dirham||4.554||3,415.50|
Santander offers users a chance to earn cashback on its Retailer Offers initiative. This initiative gives users five discounts at retail outlets. Users who redeem the cashback can save up to 25% of the transaction cost. The welcome offer is a one-off that expires immediately after shopping at the chosen retail stores. However, users also get an extra 15% cashback reward whenever they use the card at select retail outlets. Some of the retailers who offer discounts include Morrisons, Costa, and Subway.
Santander’s All in One card is another option for customers and does not impose fees for foreign transactions. However, there are charges for withdrawing cash. It offers 0.5% cashback on all purchases and 0% periods for expenditure and transfers for 26 months. It charges users £3 per month and has a representative APR of 21.7%.
Santander uses the services of a third party to process customer transactions, so the exchange rate you pay depends on the company responsible for processing the transaction. Most travel card companies transact through Visa or MasterCard. Santander uses MasterCard, which offers better exchange rates than most of its competitors. Users traveling abroad should always transact in local currency to avoid paying conversion fees.
Santander is very responsive to complaints of lost cards. Customers who misplace their cards abroad are required to report the loss immediately. The company will try to help though the type of intervention you get depends on the type of card you hold. In most cases, they cancel the previous card and allow users to apply for immediate replacements.
However, holders of premium cards get more assistance. For instance, holders of Gold Visa get an emergency card or contingency funds. Meanwhile, holders of the World Elite Mastercard get a fully functional replacement within two days. Premium cards often come with insurance protection to compensate users who lose their cards while staying abroad.
Comparison with Other Travel Cards
The fact that Santander Zero does not charge fees for overseas transactions makes it a popular option among travelers. However, other travel cards such as Barclaycard also rival its offerings. The Barclaycard Platinum Cashback Plus offers 0.25% cashback on all transactions completed before August 2023. The offer includes a start off rate of 0.5% cashback for transactions concluded within the first three months after acquiring the card.
Just like Santander Zero, the discounts apply to transactions conducted in the UK and overseas. Moreover, Barclaycard does not charge fees for purchases and cash withdrawals made abroad. It also does not charge users interest as long as they clear the balance within 30 days of withdrawing. The main difference between Santander Zero and Barclaycard is that the latter charges a higher representative APR of 21.9% compared to 18% for the former.
Tandem card also compares well with Santander Zero. It does not charge fees for foreign expenditure and cash withdrawals. However, just like Santander Zero, interests for such withdrawals start accruing immediately. However, Tandem Card offers better cashback terms than Santander Zero at 0.5% for both local and foreign transactions. The representative APR for Tandem Card is 18.9%.
Santander compares well with peers for transaction fees, but some rivals offer better cashback benefits and longer interest waivers for new customers. Several competitors offer better 0% interest terms for cash withdrawals than Santander. Indeed, travel cardholders can get up to 26 months interest-free, introductory periods from some competitors.
- Better transaction services than most rival travel companies
- Relatively similar representative APR to that of the main competitors
- Limited discount offerings
- Shorter interest-free introductory periods than most competitors
- Has quick response rates for lost cards
Santander travel money compares favorably with other travel cards on the market. It does not impose fees for foreign expenditure and cash withdrawals. Considering that some travel cards charge up to a 3% fee for cash withdrawals completed overseas, Santander is suitable for travelers who like to make cash transactions while traveling. The free cash withdrawal for travelers is a valuable proposition for holidaymakers in developing countries where some traders only accept cash.
Santander might also serve as a backup card for travelers due to its friendly replacement policies. However, it will not suit users who want cashback wherever they spend.