Halifax Travel Card Review - 2023
Halifax promote their Clarity Credit Card as a good product for frequent travellers looking to spend overseas and save money on foreign transaction fees.
This guide covers all you need to decide if the Halifax travel card is right for you, including the Halifax Clarity Card key features, benefits and fees. Plus we’ll also look at some alternatives for comparison, including the Wise international prepaid card and the Revolut debit card which both allow you to hold and exchange currencies before you travel, with low fees and the mid-market rate.
Halifax travel card: key features
Halifax directs customers to the Halifax Clarity Credit Card as a travel credit card that can help you manage your money across currencies. It’s a Mastercard, so broadly accepted globally, and has some handy travel features - but as a credit card, it can also mean you run into fees including interest and late payment penalties.
Let’s start with a quick overview of the pros and cons of the Halifax Clarity Credit Card:
✅ No foreign transaction fee
✅ Same interest is applied on all purchase types
✅ Mastercard exchange rate used for currency conversion
✅ No Halifax ATM fee
✅ Enhanced consumer protection on purchases over 100 GBP
❌ 22.9% representative APR, subject to status
❌ Interest accrues immediately if you make a cash withdrawal, plus ATM operators may apply their own charges
❌You’ll need to repay in full every month to avoid fees
❌ No rewards or cash back opportunities
In general, using a credit card to spend while you’re away can be convenient as you’ll be able to spread the costs of purchases out over a few months. However, as interest accumulates on unpaid balance amounts, this pushes up the costs overall. The Halifax Clarity Credit Card does have some handy travel features - notably no foreign transaction fee and the Mastercard exchange rate - but it may not be the cheapest option out there.
Travel debit cards from providers like Wise and Revolut can be a cheaper way to manage your travel money, as there’s no interest fee to worry about, and no penalties - just top up your account with the amount you want to spend, and you’re good to go.
Who is the Halifax travel card for?
The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is a good option if you want a credit card to use overseas, with no foreign transaction fee and no annual fee to pay. You can easily spread the costs of your travel over a couple of months with the Halifax Clarity Credit Card. However, it’s worth noting that late payment fees apply, so this card is most economical for customers who want to clear down their bill every month, to ensure no interest or penalty fees apply.
What is the Halifax travel card?
The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is a no annual fee credit card which has no foreign transaction fee, and so is offered with travellers in mind. There’s no Halifax ATM fee, but interest does start to accumulate immediately if you use your card in an ATM - plus late payment penalties apply if you don’t meet your minimum payment on time every month.
Is the Halifax Clarity Card a multi-currency card?
The Halifax travel card is not a multi-currency card, in that it does not allow you to hold a balance in multiple foreign currencies. However, it’s recommended by Halifax as a good travel card because there’s no foreign transaction fee to pay when you spend in a foreign currency, and you can spend more or less anywhere in the world. Your spending is converted to GBP from the currency you’ve used, with the Mastercard exchange rate and no extra Halifax fee.
Other cards, such as the Wise card and the Revolut card - which we’ll look at a bit more later - offer a different option. With these multi-currency accounts, you can add money in pounds and switch to the currency you need in advance, to hold a balance in the foreign currency of your choice. That’s handy as you’ll know your budget in the destination currency in advance, and can also mean you access a better exchange rate.
Alternatives to Halifax travel card
The Halifax travel card has some handy features, but travel credit cards aren’t right for everyone. They can work out to be more expensive compared to using a debit card, thanks to interest fees and penalties if you don’t make your payments in time, for example. Plus, there’s no option to hold a balance in a foreign currency, which can mean planning your travel budget is harder.
To help you decide if the Halifax travel card is right for you, let’s look at it alongside a couple of other popular alternatives:
|Halifax travel card||Wise debit card||Revolut debit card|
|Availability||Subject to credit check||Available to UK customers without credit check||Available to UK customers without credit check|
|Interest rate||22.9% variable representative||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Card order fee||No fee||7 GBP||No fee|
|Monthly fees||No fee if bill repaid in full||No fee||0 GBP - 12.99 GBP|
|International Money Transfers||Not available||Fees from 0.41%, 70 + countries covered||Fees from 0.3% to 2%, 40+ countries covered|
|International ATM withdrawals||No Halifax fee. ATM operator may impose a fee. Interest accrues immediately||2 withdrawals to 200 GBP/month fee free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75% after that||Some free withdrawals based on account plan, 2% after that|
|Currency Exchange||Mastercard rate||Mid-market rate||Mid-market rate to plan limit|
|Supported Currencies for holding and exchange||GBP||50+ currencies supported||25+ currencies supported|
|Business Accounts||Not applicable - other products may be available from Halifax for business customers||Available||Available|
Information taken from Halifax Clarity Card desktop site and Terms and conditions, Wise pricing page, Revolut international transfer fees.pdf) and Revolut UK; correct at time of writing, 16th May 2023
As you can see, the features and fees of different travel money card options can vary pretty widely. Which is best for you will depend a lot on what you need from your card, and the type of transactions you’ll make frequently. A credit card might suit if you’re hoping to pay for your travel over a few months, and you don’t mind paying interest charges while you cover the bills. Or you could choose a debit card from a specialist service like Wise or Revolut for lower costs and a flexible multi-currency holding account.
Open a Wise account online or in the Wise app, to hold and exchange 50+ currencies, and spend with your linked Wise card in 170+ countries. You can manage your money easily from your smartphone, including sending payments to 70+ countries, and getting paid from 30+ countries with local details.
Whenever you travel, Wise can offer good value as you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate to switch GBP to the currency you need, with low fees from 0.41%.
Revolut has accounts with no monthly fees, and several higher tier account plans which have monthly charges but which also unlock extra features and free transactions. All accounts come with a linked card, and can hold 25+ currencies, which means you can switch currencies in advance if you’d like to, or just spend with your card while you travel.
Currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate to plan limits, with fair usage fees after that. Out of hours fees may also apply if you switch currencies when the global markets are shut.
Halifax travel card fees & spending limits
Let’s look at the costs of using the Halifax Clarity Credit Card when you’re travelling:
|Service/fee/limit type||Halifax Clarity Credit Card fee|
|Annual fee||No fee|
|Interest rate||22.9% representative|
|Cash withdrawals||No Halifax fee - ATM operator may impose their own fee|
|Cash withdrawal interest||22.9% representative - accumulates immediately after a withdrawal is made|
|Foreign transaction fee||No fee|
|Late payment fee||12 GBP|
|Spending limit||Based on credit score and eligibility|
Information correct at time of writing - 16th May 2023
As we’ve seen, the Halifax Clarity Credit Card doesn’t allow you to hold a balance in other currencies, so when you’re overseas, your spending is converted to GBP to create your monthly bill. The exchange rate applied is the Mastercard rate, which is usually pretty fair, but may not be the exact same rate that you’d see on a currency converter tool. That’s because it may include a markup, or an extra fee, which is paid to Mastercard to cover the costs of currency conversion.
How to get a Halifax travel card
To get a Halifax Clarity Credit Card you’ll need to complete an online credit check. Eligibility criteria include:
You must be a UK resident, over 18, with a regular income
You must not have CCJs, IVAs or bankruptcies against your name
You can’t apply if you’re unemployed or a student
You can’t apply if you’ve recently been declined for a Halifax credit card after credit checking
To apply, simply head to the Halifax credit card desktop site, to complete the eligibility check and see if you’re entitled to apply.
What documents and information you’ll need
When you apply for a Halifax Clarity Credit Card you’ll be asked for:
Your name - you may have to prove your identity with government issued ID
Your address - proof of address may be required
Information about your income and outgoings - evidence may be required to support your application
How to use a Halifax travel card?
You can spend on your Halifax Clarity Credit Card anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. You may also be able to add your card to your preferred mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
You can also make cash withdrawals, with no Halifax fee. However, in this case the ATM operator may impose their own fee, and you’ll pay interest immediately on the amount withdrawn.
How to withdraw cash with a Halifax travel card?
Withdraw cash with your Halifax travel card as you would with any other debit or credit card. All you’ll need to do is to insert your card into the ATM, enter your card PIN, and confirm the amount you need to receive. You’ll be shown any applicable fee and can confirm the payment to receive your cash.
Is the card safe?
Yes. Halifax is a large and respected bank, overseen by the FCA in the UK. Credit cards are also covered by enhanced consumer protection for purchases between 100 GBP and 30,000 GBP, which can offer a little more peace of mind when spending.
How to use the Halifax travel card overseas?
You can use your Halifax Clarity Credit Card internationally, anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. Mastercard is well supported globally, so the chances are that you’ll be able to use it wherever you’re headed. It’s helpful to know that whenever you spend overseas, the amount will be switched back to pounds using the Mastercard exchange rate, which may include a small markup on the mid-market rate. You’ll then need to repay your bill in full every month to avoid any extra interest or penalty fees.
Conclusion: is the Halifax travel card worth it?
If you’re looking for a travel credit card, the Halifax Clarity Credit Card could be a handy pick. There’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee, plus no Halifax ATM charge. However, unlike some other travel credit cards, you can’t earn cash back or rewards as you spend, which can be a drawback.
Spending on a credit card when you travel isn’t right for everyone. If you’d prefer a debit card you can use alongside a flexible multi-currency account to hold and exchange dozens of currencies, you may want to compare the options available from alternatives like Wise and Revolut. You can add funds in pounds and switch to the currency or currencies you need, so you’ll know your travel budget instantly - and you may get lower overall fees, too.
Halifax travel card review FAQ
The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is a credit card with no foreign transaction fee. Spend with your card when you travel and your balance is converted to pounds using the Mastercard exchange rate, for you to repay. If you’d rather use a debit card when you travel, to manage your budget in a foreign currency more closely, you could check out alternatives from providers like Wise and Revolut.
The Halifax Clarity Credit Card can be used at home and abroad anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. There’s no foreign transaction fee when you spend overseas. However, you can’t hold a foreign currency balance which may be a drawback if you prefer to set your travel budget in advance - in this case you may prefer a multi-currency account from a service like Wise or Revolut.
If the Halifax Clarity Credit Card isn’t right for you, there’s lots of choice out there. You can check out other credit cards from major UK banks - or have a look at a travel debit card from a provider like Wise or Revolut as a different option that can come with lower overall fees and no interest to worry about.