Natwest Customers Paying Higher Credit Card charges abroad

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RBS and Natwest customers could find they are paying high foreign exchange rates than other bank providers.

In a statement, RBS/NatWest said a change to the way it set its exchange rates had been made in January 2008, and was communicated to all customers in November 2007 via a "notice of variation" in people's statements. In July 2009, another notice of variation was sent out, which gave a phone number that people could call.

Many RBS / Natwest cardholders are likely to be unaware of this, even in the small print. RBS and Natwest do display a foreign exchange rate fee but this is for buying foreign currency and we could not find any clear information about the change on its website for credit card users. The only way you can check them, is by ringing up.

By contrast, Visa and MasterCard do publish their exchange rates online which is great as the vast majority of UK credit card providers use the Visa and MasterCard exchange rates, which are very close to the wholesale market rates and therefore tend to be quite favourable. The bank or card company then adds its commission fee.

The spokesperson added: "We will shortly be updating our website and cardholder statements with more detail on how foreign transactions for credit cards are converted."

While investigating this issue, Guardian Money also found that RBS states on its website that exchange rates for its "onecard Gold" corporate card "are calculated using the official Visa or MasterCard exchange rate," even though this is not true. "It should not be there, it's wrong," said the spokesperson.

As the bank has been using its own rates for almost three years, Onecard Gold holders may feel they should be refunded any difference between the Visa/MasterCard rates and RBS's own rate since January 2008.

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Natwest Customers Paying Higher Credit Card charges abroad

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