British banks agree to travel charge changes

20 December 2011

Five major British banks have agreed to make alterations to their policies regarding foreign currency charges.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has today (20 December) announced that Barclays, Santander, the Co-operative Bank, Lloyds/HBOS and the Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest will all scrap fees associated with the purchase of overseas money in the UK via their debit cards.

At present, charges of between 1.5 and two per cent are issued on such transactions but, following a super-complaint from Consumer Focus, the OFT has negotiated their closure with the financiers.

In addition, these banks will also now offer more information regarding the costs people face when using their card abroad on their websites and through call centres.

John Fingleton - chief executive of the OFT, a non-ministerial body established in 1973 - commented: "Companies should be earning profits by competing to provide the best value products and services, not through charges that are hard for customers to identify or interpret."

By Claire Archer

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