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Financial own-goal warning to footie fans

Amanda Jarvis

May 25, 2006

Nationwide estimates that the average fan will spend in the region of £1,400 watching a World Cup match in Germany. To help fund the trip football fans should consider short term borrowing options such as credit or debit cards, which are an easy and convenient way to spend while abroad.  However, before choosing which card to take to the World Cup, there are three ways fans can avoid paying extra on transactions made while there.

Own Goal One – Paying extra on overseas transactions

Football fans should pack a card that offers free card use abroad.  Most card providers charge a foreign currency loading fee on overseas transactions which many consumers will only become aware of after close inspection of their statement.

Own Goal Two – Paying the price for choosing the wrong card

Almost all UK card providers choose to firstly allocate payments to outstanding balances at the lowest rate of interest leaving balances at higher interest rates, such as cash advances, to continue to accrue interest. Fans should choose a card that offers a positive order of payments.

Own Goal Three – Paying for purchases in sterling

While in Germany, Nationwide urges fans not to be caught out by Dynamic Currency Conversion – a currency conversion ‘service’ which can result in consumers paying extra on purchases.  VISA guidelines state that a UK cardholder should have the option to pay a bill in either the currency of the country they are visiting or in pounds sterling. Nationwide recommends that cardholders say “Nein” to paying in sterling and use the following phrase when opting to pay for purchases in the local currency:

“Ich möchte mit Euro bezahlen, bitte.”

Anyone planning to make the journey to Germany this summer should also consider buying travel insurance before they go.

Stuart Bernau, Nationwide’s executive director, said: “With all the excitement surrounding this year’s World Cup it is easy for people to give football priority over their finances.  However, travelling fans who act now can avoid paying the price later.  Many of these extra charges are difficult for consumers to spot before using their debit or credit cards.  We believe people should not have to wait to see their statement before discovering how much they are spending.  By packing a Nationwide card before setting off for Germany, fans can take advantage of our positive order of payments and free card use for debit cardholders and avoid being out of pocket when the final whistle blows on the tournament.”


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