Before you go

Using your cards abroad

There are lots of benefits of using your cards abroad, especially if you don't want to carry large amounts of cash around with you. This page could help you understand the fees and the exchange rate we use when you use your card abroad.

Using your cards abroad FAQs

Should I pay in sterling when I'm abroad?

When using your card abroad, some retailers and ATMs may offer to process your transaction in sterling, rather than local currency. This process is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and it may make your transaction more expensive than if you had paid in local currency.

How does DCC work?

  • The retailer or ATM should ask you before using DCC.
  • If you say yes, the retailer or ATM will convert your transaction into sterling at an exchange rate of their choosing. This rate could be more expensive than the Visa Exchange Rate used by Nationwide.
  • A commission charge may also be added by the retailer/ATM.
  • The transaction will come to Nationwide in sterling, and so will not be processed as a foreign transaction.
  • Any income from this service will go to the retailer or ATM owner.

Will DCC cost me more than if Nationwide converts my transaction?

  • This will depend upon what the foreign retailer / ATM is charging both as an exchange rate and as their commission.
  • Our commission fees (Non-Sterling Transaction and Cash Fees) are all shown within the worked examples on these pages. These fees are designed to be low compared to the market and some of our credit cards (such as Select Credit Card) attract no commission at all.

How to avoid DCC if you wish

  • When making a purchase or withdrawing cash over-the-counter at a bureau-de-change or bank, always tell the retailer/bank that you'd like to pay in local currency before the transaction takes place.
  • When using an ATM, always read the ATM screen carefully and check that DCC isn't selected by default. Deselect it if it is.
  • Check your receipt afterwards. If a sterling amount is shown, then DCC has been used.

What to do if DCC is used without your permission

  • Remind the retailer that you didn't want them to use DCC and ask for the receipt to be voided (not refunded, as a different exchange rate can sometimes be payable on refunds). Then start the transaction again. If the retailer refuses to do this you can report it to Nationwide on your return to the UK. We can seek redress for you through the VISA chargeback process.
  • If using an ATM, you can complain to the ATM owner, or report it to Nationwide on your return to the UK. We can seek redress for you through the VISA chargeback process.

How do I find out what the Visa Exchange Rate is for my transaction?


We use the Visa Exchange Rate to convert your transaction into sterling. Visa gives us this rate each day. Their website provides a currency converter that you can use to find out the rate of exchange for any transaction over the last 12 months. You can find the currency converter here: www.visaeurope.com/fxcalculator.

How to use the Visa enquiry tool

Visa Europe provides the payments system that enables all Nationwide debit and credit cards to be accepted wherever you see the Visa sign around the world. Visa converts all of our customer's foreign currency transactions back into sterling using their Visa Exchange Rate.

How to complete the Visa currency converter

Visa Currency Converter questions The answers you should enter
Select and Nationwide credit cards, FlexAccount, FlexDirect and Cash Card+ debit cards Gold, Classic and Cash Reward credit cards
My Card is in Pound sterling (GBP) Pound sterling (GBP)
My Transaction was in Please select the currency that was used Please select the currency that was used
Enter commission fee (0-5%) 0 Depending on where you made your transaction, enter:
0 (inside Visa Europe region) 1 (outside Visa Europe region)*
Date Please enter the Visa processing date for your transaction** Please enter the Visa processing date for your transaction**
Purchase Amount Please enter the relevant purchase amount in the foreign currency Please enter the relevant purchase amount in the foreign currency

* There is a 1% Payment Scheme Exchange Fee for transactions outside the Visa Europe region
** See the FAQ: What is the "processing date" for my transaction below for more information about processing dates

What is the "processing date" for my transaction?

There are usually three dates involved in card transactions:

  • Transaction date - the date you made the transaction
  • Visa processing date - the date the transaction is converted to sterling
  • Posting date - the date the transaction is applied to your account

There can be a delay between the transaction date and the Visa processing date. Your transaction can take some time to reach Visa, depending upon where in the world it took place. The processing date is normally 1 day earlier than the "posting date", which is the date shown on your statement.

If you'd like to know the exact processing date of your credit card transaction, please call us on 08457 99 88 99

How is the exchange rate shown on your statement?

FlexAccount, FlexDirect, FlexPlus and Cash Card+ debit cards, Select and Nationwide credit cards

The exchange rate shown on your statement against any non-sterling transaction will be the Visa Exchange Rate (amended to give a rounded sterling amount to two decimal places). As your account is in sterling all rates shown on your statement will be equivalent to the value of £1.00.

For example, a purchase of 100 euros will be shown on your statement as:

3rd June 2013, 100 euros @ 1.163060 euros, £85.98 (meaning that 1.163060 euros = £1.00, so 100 euros divided by 1.163060 = £85.98)

100 euros @ the rate of exchange for the euro that is equivalent to £1.00, on the date your transaction was processed by Visa (e.g. 3rd June 2013), which may be different from the date on which you made the transaction. See the FAQ: What is the "processing date" for my transaction above for more information.

Classic / Gold / Cash Reward credit cards

If you carry out transactions outside of the Visa Europe region then the exchange rate shown on your statement against any non-sterling transactions will be the Visa Exchange Rate adjusted by a 1% Payment Scheme Exchange Fee (amended to give a rounded sterling amount to two decimal places).

This 1% Payment Scheme Exchange Fee is charged for converting transactions made in foreign currencies outside the Visa Europe region, which is applied by adjusting the Visa Exchange Rate.

For transactions within the Visa Europe region your statement will show the Visa Exchange Rate (amended to give a rounded sterling amount to two decimal places).

As your account is in sterling, all exchange rates shown on your statement will be equivalent to the value of £1.00.

Is the rate of exchange printed on my statement exactly the same as the Visa Exchange Rate given by the Visa website?

No, the printed rate will be slightly different due to the way we round the calculations within the conversion process in order to give you a result in sterling to two decimal places.

The exchange rate used to convert any non-sterling transaction into sterling will always be the Visa Exchange Rate, except for Classic/Gold/ Cash Reward credit cards used outside the Visa Europe region when the Visa Exchange Rate adjusted by a 1% Payment Scheme Exchange Fee will apply.

We will round the resulting sterling amount to two decimal places and this amount will be printed on your statement. We will also print on your statement a rate of exchange that you can use to directly calculate the rounded sterling amount from the value of the original non-sterling transaction, if you wish.

It is, however, always the Visa Exchange Rate that determines the actual sterling amount that you have paid on your debit card, or will pay, if you used a credit card.

Where can I find independent advice about using my cards abroad?

For independent guidance on using your card abroad please visit:

Find a Visa ATM abroad

Lady preparing to use an ATM whilst abroad

Our debit and credit cards can be used anywhere in the world that accepts Visa cards and you can withdraw cash from any ATM that accepts Visa cards (not Cash Card+). 

You can't use Cash Card + at an ATM outside the UK. You can use it worldwide to withdraw cash over-the-counter.

Find a Visa ATM UK and abroad

Fees & charges