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Travel Money - Bulgarian Lev

Using your debit card abroad

Most major banks will let you use your debit card for transactions and withdrawals abroad, but you may incur additional charges.

Find out more with Sainsbury’s Bank.

Can I use my debit card abroad?

Yes, you can use your debit card abroad but you should let your bank know before you travel. This way their security measures won’t block your card and cause you any problems.  

Although you can withdraw cash and make card payments overseas, using a debit card abroad isn’t always straightforward as you’ll often be charged additional fees. These are called non-sterling transaction fees.

On top of this, you may also be charged cash machine charges when withdrawing money too – but this is dependent on the cash machine used. 

Will I be charged to use my debit card abroad?

While most banks now allow you to use your debit card abroad, you may be charged a small non-sterling transaction fee. This is a fee applied to purchases or financial transactions made in any currency other than Pounds Sterling. The non-sterling transaction fee for debit cards ranges from 2.75-3% per transaction, depending on your bank. 

Benefits of using your debit card abroad


Using your debit card abroad is more convenient than carrying cash. Many shops, hotels, petrol stations and restaurants accept debit cards, so you don’t need to worry about having enough cash in the correct currency. 

Safe and secure

If your card is lost or stolen abroad, you will have the same level of protection as you would in the UK. 


Easy to track and manage

Online banking and banking apps make it easy to keep track of your spending while abroad. You can also freeze your card easily if it’s lost or stolen. 


Pay in the local currency

Choosing to pay in the local currency when making debit card transactions can save you money. The point-of-sale conversion rate is usually higher than if you pay in the local currency.  

Tips for taking your debit card abroad

Take a mixture of cash and card

Although debit cards are accepted in lots of places abroad, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash as well. Taxis, markets and other small vendors might not accept debit cards, so carrying travel money can help you have a stress-free and enjoyable holiday.

It can also be a good idea to carry a credit card when travelling abroad. That way you’ve got a backup payment method in case of emergencies – whether that’s extending your stay unexpectedly, needing a last-minute flight home, or if your other payment methods are lost or stolen.

How to report a lost, stolen or damaged debit card

You can report a lost, stolen or damaged debit card to your bank. You can also freeze or cancel your card through your banking app or online banking.

You should report the loss or theft as soon as possible to prevent any unwanted activity in your account.

How to avoid your card getting blocked when travelling abroad

It’s best to let your bank know of your travel plans before you go, to prevent your account from being blocked or frozen. Unusual activity on your account – such as large transactions abroad – may concern your bank and cause them to pause activity until they know it’s really you.

You should be able to use your mobile banking app to inform your bank of your travel plans. You can input the destination and dates you’ll be visiting.

However, most banks have a 90-day limit for travel plans. If you plan to be abroad for longer, it’s best to call them and speak to an advisor.

Advantages of taking a travel card abroad

As an alternative to using your debit card abroad, you can use a Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money Card.

With a travel card you avoid paying any of the non-sterling transaction fees, so it can be a more cost-effective way of spending and keeping track of money while you’re on holiday.

Make transactions in local currency

With a Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money Card, you can pay for goods in the local currency instead of pounds. This can save you money in exchange and transaction fees.

No non-sterling transaction fees

Avoid paying 2.75-3% transaction fees when you load money onto your travel card and pay in the local currency.

Pay your way

Pay by contactless, chip and PIN, swipe, or withdraw cash – it’s up to you how you want to spend with our Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money Card.

Easy to manage

Keep track of your balance and spending on the app, so you never go over budget on holiday again.

Make transaction in over 50 currencies

With over 50 currencies to choose from with your Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Card, you can use it for all your foreign holidays, work trips and family visits abroad.

Check exchange rates

You can check exchange rates for a wide range of currencies in the app, so you always know how much you’re spending.

No need to inform your bank of your travel plans

Travel Money cards are pre-paid debit cards, so there’s no need to inform your bank of your travel plans.

Looking to take some cash with you too?

Having a small amount of local currency for your trip can help you out in a pinch. Whether you need a taxi, a snack, or a one-of-a-kind piece from a craft market, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash.

Buy foreign currency for your next trip at our travel bureaux. We sell over 50 foreign currencies at great exchange rates.

If you’re a Nectar member, you can get an even better exchange rate when you buy currency from us*.

It doesn’t matter whether you buy instore or online. All you have to do is tell us your Nectar account number when you buy.

Not a Nectar member? Just download the Nectar app or register at

Taking your debit card abroad FAQs

Do you get charged for taking your debit card abroad?

You won’t get charged for taking a debit card abroad, but you may be charged a non-sterling transaction fee of 2.75-3% every time you make a purchase or withdraw cash.

How can I avoid debit card fees abroad?

You can avoid some debit card fees by choosing to pay in the local currency when given the option. You can also use a Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Card which lets you make transactions in over 50 foreign currencies. 

Is it better to take cash or your debit card abroad?

It’s a good idea to take both a debit and credit card abroad, as well as cash. This means you’re covered for all eventualities. You can use your debit card for transactions and withdrawals and keep your credit card as a backup for emergencies. Cash is also handy for smaller payments or for paying for things like taxis or items from market stalls.  

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Terms and conditions

*Nectar members receive better exchange rates on single purchase transactions of all available foreign currencies. Excludes travel money card home delivery orders and online reloads. Exchange rates may vary depending on whether you buy instore, online or by phone.©
You need to tell us your Nectar card number at the time of your transaction. No cash alternative is available. We reserve the right to change or cancel this offer without notice.

**You can order currency for a secure home delivery by 1pm on the day of your choice by Royal Mail (Mon- Sat). For next day delivery your order needs to be confirmed before 2pm (Mon- Fri). Please note that whilst Royal Mail make every effort to delivery on schedule, we cannot guarantee this as it is beyond our control. Highlands and Islands (including Channel Islands) are not guaranteed next day delivery. Delivery is free on all cash orders £400 or more (£4.99 for orders between £100 and £399.99). The minimum order for home delivery is £100. The delivery day quoted is dependent on the order day being a working day; if one of those days is a public holiday then additional day(s) will be added accordingly. All home delivery orders are sent via Royal Mail Special Delivery, unless we advise you otherwise, to your billing address, and a signature will be required upon delivery. A valid telephone number is required for home delivery.

^For Euro, US Dollar and Travel Money Card only:

If you selected same-day collection your order will be available 4 hours from the initial order confirmation email received or if your order was placed before 6 am then the earliest your order will be available to collect is from 10 am. Please allow at least 4 hours for your order to be processed. Remember to check the bureau opening hours before collecting your order.

If you selected tomorrow or a future date your order will be ready from 10 am on your chosen collection date.

For all other currencies

Your order will be available from 2.00 pm on your chosen collection date.

Your order should be collected within 72 hours or will be subject to cancellation.

Sainsbury's Bank Travel Money Card is issued by PrePay Technologies Limited pursuant to license by Mastercard International. PrePay Technologies Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (FRN: 900010) for the issuing of electronic money and payment instruments. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Find more Terms & Conditions here