Before Nat-West changed to the Visa debit card I could buy Euros with a Maestro debit card at a local travel agent without any extra charge for the transaction.
Now, if I use my new Visa debit card to purchase Euros at the same travel agent, Visa/Nat-West add a charge of £4.50 calling the transaction a "Cash Advance".
So Nat-West and Visa between them have created the rather bizarre position whereby:-
If I use my Visa debit card to draw cash at the local Nat-West branch and walk to the travel agent I can avoid the £4.50 "Cash Advance" charge.(even though I have had a Sterling Cash Advance!)
However, if I use the same Visa debit card in the travel agent, I do not actually obtain a Sterling Cash Advance (it is, after all, a Sterling based debit card) and yet I will be charged for a Cash Advance for buying Euros.
Furthermore, the staff at:- 1) my local Nat-West branch 2) my account-holding Nat-West branch in London 3) Nat-West Customer Services could not offer a rational explanation of the logic of the current situation.
Am I missing something here....or is this an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences?
I went into my local NatWest and the staff assured me there would be no charge for buying foreign currency in the UK using their Visa debit card.
They gave me a leaflet that clearly contradicts this. It says,
"Please note there is a 2% charge, (minimum £2, maximum £5), for the purchase of currency or travellers cheques using a Visa debit card. This also applies to foreign currency transactions made in the UK".
This did not apply previously with their Maestro debit card.
The moral is clear; In the UK, withdraw your cash at a normal bank ATM, then go to the bureau de change. Probably good advice for any Visa debit card.
Cancel your Visa Debit and go to the bank counter for your cash. The cost to the bank will be far greater than the cost of their "cash advance fee" and you will have some satisfaction at their discomfort.
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