What’s in a headline?

A bit of a misleading headline, as it turns out, in one of the UK papers today. Certainly caught the eye, and unless you read the whole article very carefully you could easily be misinformed.

Holidaymakers face stealth fees as Nationwide starts charging for using credit cards abroad

Nationwide has always prided itself on not charging fees on overseas transactions, something which has made it popular with both holidaymakers and expats living abroad.

Most of the article is taken up by details of how Nationwide is to charge 0.84% on credit card purchases (far lower than other companies) as from May 6th 2009 and then on debit card activities, such as getting money out of a hole-in-the-wall, as from June 2009. The reason for this is that, up until now, Nationwide has managed to absorb third party Visa charges. All true it would seem.

However, amidst a whole page of scaremongering, is a very relevant sentence, easily missed.

All cardholders will still be able to use Nationwide credit and debit cards within Europe without incurring any fees.

In addition:

A number of Nationwide customers who have Mastercard, rather than Visa, will not be affected by the change.

So, the change only affects people taking a holiday outside Europe, not people taking a holiday abroad. The majority of travel and holidays occur within Europe.

To quote Nationwide themselves:

When you use a Nationwide Visa debit card or credit card to make a transaction in certain currencies other than sterling, Visa charge a fee for each transaction and Nationwide currently pays that fee on your behalf.

We will start to pass this fee onto you from 6 May 2009 on credit card and from 1 June 2009 on debit card and it will be included in the sterling amount shown on your statement.

The fee is currently 0.84%. From 1 July 2009 this fee will increase to 1%.

The list below provides details of the countries for which Visa charge a fee. To check if you will be charged, please search for the country you are visiting by using the A-Z list. Unless stated otherwise a fee will be charged.

The Nationwide lists, alphabetically, all countries and it is an easy matter to check to see if the charges will apply.