Zero credit card comes in to the market in time for summer holidays

The summer holiday season peak is just around the corner and Westlife musician Kian Egan has jumped in to one of the events associated with the period by exchanging vows with fiancee Jodi Albert, according to reports.

Holiday paradise Barbados played host to their nuptials ahead of the couple’s romantic Caribbean break with friends on the island, the Daily Star reported.

The groom, who is 29, and his 25-year-old bride had a beach wedding in which a gospel choir was on hand to perform Love is in the Air as the rest of the band, manager Louis Walsh and other guests including Hollyoaks chums Ali Bastian and Carley Stenson watched.

While on the island, the couple and their guests took time to sample what Barbados has to offer and enjoyed romantic beach walks, while Kian was spotted taking pleasure in a spot of surfing.

While jetting to the holiday paradise that is Barbados may not be such a big deal to Mr Egan’s bank account, the current economic climate means that the average consumer has to be cautious this year about taking their annual break.

Due to the global financial crisis, many consumers are watching their finances and some are keen to make savings in all areas including holidaying, which can be costly if not planned properly, especially when it comes to credit card charges.

However, there may be some good news for many on this front.

New zero rate credit card has a solution

Abbey has announced the return of its Zero card boasting no foreign exchange fee and no cash advance charges just in time for the summer holiday, meaning holidaymakers signing up for the popular card can enjoy their breaks without worrying about paying extra fees.

Holidaymakers using the award-winning Abbey Zero credit card, which is available from May 11th, will not only benefit from no charges when using the card in foreign destinations such Barbados, but also an introductory zero per cent rate on balance transfers for a year.

A handy feature for emergencies in the Abbey card is the fact that there is also no fee for cash advances and a zero per cent rate on purchases for three months.

“We are delighted to bring back the popular Zero card in time for the summer holiday season,” said Abbey Credit Cards managing director Roger Lovering.

“Zero is the only credit card on the high street with no foreign exchange fee, helping to make holiday spending less expensive because unlike other cards, it doesn’t charge a percentage fee on transactions made in a foreign currency,” he added.

“Its fee-free credentials apply on an ongoing basis too, as part of our commitment to offer our customers ongoing value and innovative and cost effective spending options.”

Several financial experts have welcomed the introduction of the credit card, with Michelle Slade of Moneyfacts saying the development is “fantastic news” for consumers keen on cutting down their costs while abroad.

Ms Slade stated that the last few months have seen some credit card providers hike their charges but the fact that the Zero card takes a different route, coupled with a long balance transfer deal means “this card will have a wide appeal to customers”.

This opinion is shared by Andrew Hagger of Moneynet, who said that in addition to the 12-month interest-free period being “a competitive offer”, the card’s real strength is the absence of additional fees on foreign transactions.

“British holidaymakers heading overseas will be hit hard by the weakness of sterling this year so the ability to make purchases without the usual 2.75 per cent plus fee will give a much needed boost to the holiday kitty,” he explained.

According to head of credit cards at consumer website MoneySupermarket Kevin Mountford, this is good news for holidaymakers and consumers should exploit the competition between credit card providers “by using their credit cards shrewdly”.

“The lack of charge for use abroad is a key feature, especially as Nationwide, which was the key player in this market, recently began levying charges for transactions outside the Visa Europe region,” he stated.

He went on to say that other cards impose a charge on purchases that ranges between 2.75 and three per cent, which means that holidaymakers spending £2,000 abroad could be hit with a £60 charge just for using their credit card.

Wide choice out there

In spite of the card having some impressive introductory rates, Mr Mountford went on to point out that the nine-month zero per cent on balance transfers period does not beat a few other offers out in the market.

Among these offers is one from Virgin, which introduced a newly extended 15-month deal, as well as another 15-month balance transfer card belonging to Abbey itself and a selection of others offering more than three months zero per cent on purchases.

Such offers, and even better ones, can be found through a bit of proactiveness such as trawling through price comparison websites to find out what else is out there.

Therefore before you start packing your bags for that all-important annual break or a significant overseas event such as Kian Egan’s and Jodi Albert’s nuptials, make sure you will only get to spend what you really have to.

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