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Travel Money - Bulgarian Lev

Non-sterling transaction fees explained

You’ll face non-sterling transaction fees when you make a credit or debit card payment overseas. Find out more with Sainsbury’s Bank so you don’t end up overspending on your next holiday.

What are non-sterling transaction fees?

Non-sterling transaction fees are charges you get for using your card overseas. When you use your usual bank card in another country, your card issuer needs to convert the local currency you’re using into sterling. This is the fee that you’ll find added to your statement. These fees can be charged in bars, shops and when making cash withdrawals. 

This happens when using both debit and credit cards abroad. This guide will explain how to avoid these non-sterling fees.

Why are non-sterling transaction fees charged? 

Your card issuer charges a non-sterling transaction fee as they need to convert the currency you’re paying in into Pounds Sterling. You may be charged these fees overseas when you:

  • Buy drinks in a bar
  • Dine in a restaurant
  • Buy anything from a shop 
  • Pay for goods on a website outside of the UK

Will the non-sterling fees show on my bank statement?

Non-sterling transaction fees can cost up to 3% of the total transaction amount, and you’ll be able to see them in your bank statement. You should be able to see the:

  • Cost in Pounds Sterling
  • Exchange rate
  • Conversion fee
  • Withdrawal fee for taking cash out if withdrawing cash

On your statement you may also see non STG-PURCH fee or non STG-TRANS fee.

How to avoid being charged non-sterling transaction fees?

One of the best ways to avoid being charged non-sterling transaction fees is to avoid using your credit or debit card abroad. Luckily for you, there are other alternatives when it comes to holiday spending money. Instead of using your regular card abroad, opt for one of these payment methods instead:

Pay in cash

If you pay in cash, you’ll avoid any additional fees at the point of payment. This means that you won’t need to pay any non-sterling transaction fees at the checkout – although you may be charged to withdraw the cash in the first place.

It’s handy to have cash while you’re on holiday for small purchases. You may be tempted to rent a sun lounger or buy an ice-cream on the beach. You may also come across places or transport options that only accept cash, so it’s best to be prepared with a variety of denominations.

Use a travel money card

Another way to avoid non-GBP transfer fees is to opt for a travel money card that doesn’t charge you for foreign transaction fees. A Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money Card allows you to spend abroad with ease. You can live like a local and withdraw from ATMs around the world without paying a card fee (just remember that some global ATMs charge their own fee).

Our Travel Money Card is free to get, all you need to do is order for delivery or collection, load up £50 and you’re good to go. You can load up to 15 currencies at one time – from Euros to Turkish Lira – perfect if you plan to explore multiple countries on your trip.

Feel secure making contactless, chip and pin, and online payments on the move. You can manage your account from the Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money Card app wherever you are.

Choose to pay in the local currency 

The simplest way to avoid paying non-sterling transaction fees is to not pay in foreign currencies. When buying things from an overseas website online, try to select to pay in Pounds Sterling. If this isn’t an option, try to find a UK-based retailer that sells the same product.

When withdrawing cash from an ATM abroad, always choose to be charged in the local currency. This avoids Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) which results in unwanted fees. This also applies for when bring presented with the card machine and given the option of which currency to pay in. 

The Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money Card does the exchange for you, so you don’t need to worry about paying an exchange fee on your non-sterling purchases.

Non-sterling transaction fees FAQs

How can I avoid transaction fees abroad?

To avoid transaction fees abroad, always opt to pay in the local currency where you can. You could pay in cash to avoid any extra fees at point of sale, or use a travel money card, like our Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money Card.

How can I avoid debit card fees abroad?

To avoid debit card fees while abroad, choose a card that doesn’t charge you foreign transaction fees. Most banks will charge a fee for currency conversion, but you could opt for the Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money Card. With this, you won’t be charged for spending in a currency you have loaded up on the card.

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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