Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide. Credit Cards Debt-Free Wannabe Savings and Investments. Utilities Old Style MoneySaving MoneySaving in Relationships.
Grabbit Shop don't drop Freebies Competitions. Join s of MoneySavers in the Forum's many discussion boards. For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Rosie Edited by Sam D. When preparing to go on holiday, you might be so busy counting down the days till sunny climes and getting away from it all that you forget to think of holiday money. We know that specialist overseas credit cards give you one of the best deals when you're spending abroad but, in true MSE style, we wanted to do some in-depth analysis on which card issuer offers the best exchange rates.
Which really is the best card to take on holiday with you? A bit of background to this first. Debit and credit cards can be used wherever you see the Mastercard, Visa or Amex symbol, depending on what your card is branded.
There are two factors that have an effect:. So, when you spend overseas, your bank or credit card provider first uses the wholesale rate set by Mastercard, Visa or Amex on the day your transaction is processed typically a day or two after you've actually spent the money to make the exchange. Then it adds its commission, typically between 2. You may also see other fees for cash withdrawals, and a few even charge a fee for spending.
But this isn't our focus for this article. Some specialist overseas credit cards , like Creation Everyday or Halifax Clarity, don't charge this transaction fee. We know collectively these cards are one of the cheapest ways to spend abroad.
But are all these cards equal? Does it matter which you pick? We wanted to know, and for this, as there are no fees, it's a straight Mastercard versus Visa versus Amex comparison. We've heard anecdotally that Mastercard's rates tend to beat Visa and Amex on overseas spending. But does Mastercard always offer better rates?
Is this true for the euro and US dollar only the main currencies we use for calculations , or is it a winner across the board? To find out, we took the published exchange rates for Mastercard's, Visa's and Amex's wholesale rates for euros and dollars at two different dates in each month for a year from April to give us a decent number of data points to compare As you can see, at almost every data point, Mastercard's rates are above the Visa and Amex ones which more closely match each other.
There are only a few points where the reverse is true. Breaking it down for euros and dollars, we had 54 different data points.
American Express Travel Services and Travel Reservations
But sometimes these differences can be quite large. This is a huge gap for one euro being exchanged. So, Mastercard tends to win for the big, most-commonly used currencies, but what happens when we look at slightly lesser-used currencies? We looked at two currencies, the Turkish lira and the Polish zloty; and the same holds true.
Although we looked at only one data point per month for these currencies, we still see that the majority of the time, Mastercard holds the exchange rate crown. Amex and Visa vie for bottom place with both currencies. How much better is the Mastercard rate than the Visa and Amex rate? The charts above show you that Mastercard plastic, barring a few anomalies, gives you a better rate than Visa and Amex cards for comparable spending.
But, how much better is the Mastercard rate? We've analysed the spread by 'indexing' the Mastercard rate for euros over a year meaning it's always on this graph and then allowing the Visa and Amex euro exchange rates to vary around it.
Though it does show that for the points we picked, Mastercard is the winner for all but five. On average, from the euro and dollar data sets we looked at, Mastercard's exchange rates were 0. While we haven't checked every day and every currency, it's likely that the data we do have shows a pattern that would be replicated. If you don't have a specialist overseas card already, this might mean you pick a best-buy provider offering a Mastercard.
However, if you do already have an overseas card which is a Visa or Amex and you're happy with it, it's probably not worth changing unless you spend a lot overseas each year. For this research, we've pointed out and emphasised the differences between the two rates. But the fact remains that an average 0. If you do want to get a new top overseas spending card, or change the card you have, then our top picks can be seen in the Cheap Travel Credit Cards guide.
A brief summary is here:. If you use the cards abroad, you might see the same trend. Mastercard is accepted at more than 36 million retailers worldwide, Visa 40 million, and although Amex won't give us an exact figure, estimates are that they're accepted at around 16 million outlets worldwide. Do let us know in the forum if you've found countries or cities where you couldn't use a Mastercard, Visa or Amex, but the others worked. Mastercard vs Visa vs Amex.
NOT YET A FORUM MEMBER? If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site. It's worth noting this means the third party used may be named on any credit agreements. Plus the editorial line the things we write is NEVER impacted by these links. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How This Site Is Financed.
We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of the site. We're a journalistic website and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques, but can't guarantee to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can't accept liability if things go wrong.
Exchange Rates | American Express FX International Payments
Its stance of putting consumers first is protected and enshrined in the legally-binding MSE Editorial Code. Your browser isn't supported. It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Forum Home Join s of MoneySavers in the Forum's many discussion boards. Weekly Email News Blogs Martin's Blog Deals Hunters' Blog Team Blog.
About the site How we're financed MSE FAQs Martin's Biography The MSE Charity Fund Free MSE car sticker MoneySaving Game Martin's Online Gallery MoneySaving Quizzes MoneySaving Polls. Search Main site Main site Forum News Blog. The MSE mobile menu not all pages are optimised yet. MSE Credit Club Cashback Eligibility Calc Airline Credit Cards Credit Card Rewards Loans Cheap Loans New. MSE Credit Club Loans Eligibility Calculator Cheap Credit Card Loans Credit Scores Debt Help Debt Problems Mental Health Debt Guide Dont Bank With Debts Debt Solutions Money Makeover.
MSE Credit Club Stoozing Calculator Rewards Checker News Regulator denies payday loan Big Reclaims Reclaim PPI for Free Packaged Bank Accounts Council Tax Reclaiming Flight Delay Compensation Reclaim Experian CreditExpert Govt.
Calculators Council Tax Calculator Benefits Checkup Tax Code Calculator Bank Charges Comparison Income Tax Calculator News The Queen's Speech - what it More than I actually paid. Flight Delays Compensation I took your advice and have claimed PPI from all the companies we had loans with. Cheapest Football on TV. Savings Top Savings Accounts Are Your Savings Safe? Best Bank Accounts First Direct: Fixed Rate Savings Charter Savings Bank: Top Cash ISAs The AA: Protect Yourself Consumer Rights Printed Mini Guide Section 75 Refunds Failed Delivery Shopping Tricks Freebies, Freebies, Freebies eBay Buying Secrets High Street Haggling Megashopbot.
Holidays Cheap Flights Travel Insurance Flight Delays Compensation Cheap Hotels Cheap Package Holidays Overseas Travel Tips Easyjet Tricks Motoring Cheap Petrol inc.
Overseas Spending Travel Money Tips Top Travel Spending Cards Your Card: Overseas Charges Compare Travel Cash Airline Credit Cards News Calling Spain, Poland etc Insurance News Insurance News Admiral rapped by regulator Insurance Records Car Insurance The record's just 96p for a year's fully comprehensive cover. First Time Buyers First Time Buyers Guide Help to Buy ISAs How much can I borrow?
Tips for Using Your Credit Card Overseas | American Express
Mortgage Best Buys Cheap Mortgage Finding Home Movers Boost Your Mortgage Chances Mortgage Best Buys 20 Property Search Tips Free House Price Valuations Cheap Mortgage Finding Remortgaging Remortgage Guide Mortgage Best Buys Should you Remortgage? Free House Price Valuations Cheap Mortgage Finding Managing your Mortgage Overpaying your Mortgage Mortgage Arrears Help Extend Your Lease Buy Your Freehold. Overpayments Calculator Would paying more on mortgage SAVE you cash?
How Much Can I Borrow? Uncover how much a bank may lend you for a mortgage. Savings vs Mortgage Offset Mortgage? Shopping Rights Consumer Rights Armour How to Complain Section 75 refunds Mini Rights Printout Failed Delivery - fight back. Tools Cheap iPhone Finder Incl iPhone5 offers MegaShopBot. Students Student Bank Accounts Student Loans Grad Accounts Education Grants Teen Cash Class News Eligible for carer's credit?
Tools Free Tax Code Calculator Find if you're owed a tax rebate Income Tax Checker See what the tax man and more! Get Our Free Money Tips Email! In this guide What are overseas cards? Mastercard vs Visa vs Amex - who wins? How much better is the winner? Overseas card best buys. Mastercard win Visa win Amex win Euros 22 3 2 US dollars 21 3 3.
Join in the MSE Forum Discussion: Mastercard vs Visa vs Amex NOT YET A FORUM MEMBER? By Rosie Edited by Sam D. FREE MoneySaving email Week from 21 June MSE News Martin's Blog Deals Hunters.
How this site works We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of the site. This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances and remember we focus on rates not service.
Do note, while we always aim to give you accurate product info at the point of publication, unfortunately price and terms of products and deals can always be changed by the provider afterwards, so double check first. We don't as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned how likely they are to go bust , but there is a risk any company can struggle and it's rarely made public until it's too late see the Section 75 guide for protection tips. We often link to other websites, but we can't be responsible for their content.
Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion. More tools from MoneySavingExpert Budget Planner Free tool to analyse your finances and scrutinise spending. Premium Bonds Calc Unique tool uses probability to estimate winnings. EBay Local Deals Mapper Find cheap pick-up only items near you - they often attract fewer bids.
Credit Club Turbo boost your credit chances and get your free Experian credit report. Credit Card Eligibility Calc Shows which top cards you're most likely to get. Cheap Energy Club Ensures the cheapest energy deal constantly. About the Site MSE's Editorial Code Site's Funding Sitemap Jobs Accessibility Email FAQs Site FAQs Forum Rules New to Forum?
Martin Lewis is a registered trade mark belonging to Martin S Lewis.