Great news: Virgin Atlantic credit cards axe European foreign transaction fees

Mar 5, 2020

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When a credit card or loyalty programme changes its terms, it’s usually for the worse. However, on Thursday, Virgin Money announced that it had changed the terms on its cobranded Virgin Atlantic credit cards — and it’s for the better.

As of 16 April 2020, Virgin Money is doing away with the pesky 2.99% foreign transaction fee it charges on some non-sterling purchases. When the changes take effect, the fee will no longer apply to international purchases made within the European Economic Area (EEA). In other words, you won’t be charged the 2.99% fee if you are making a purchase in sterling, euro, Swedish kronor or Romanian lei.

A Virgin Money spokesperson confirmed that the changes apply to both the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card and the no-fee Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card.

Additionally, Virgin Money says that it will start showing the exchange rate used to convert any foreign transactions on your monthly statement. It will also soon offer an online calculator so you can see how the exact exchange rate compares with the European Central Bank’s. It’s worth noting that Virgin Money will keep its same policy in place regarding the exchange rate it uses. Rather than using the exchange rate on the date you made the transaction, it uses the rate on the day the transaction was taken from your account.

Related: A review of the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card

Most credit cards in the U.K., including the most premium of cards issued by American Express, incur a foreign transaction fee on international purchases. The FX fee, as it’s commonly referred to, is one of the most infuriating charges for those who travel internationally. Most travel credit cards issued in the U.S. have gotten rid of the fee, and hopefully, Virgin Money’s decision is a sign of things to come from other cards in the U.K. market.

With this good news, it’s worth noting that some other terms are changing on the cards, not all of which are that positive. For example, the cards’ late payment fee is increasing from £9 per month to £12 per month. If you go over your credit limit, the fee is also increasing from £9 per month to £12 per month. And finally, if you have submitted a failed payment, that fee is increasing from £9 per instance to £12 per instance.

Additionally, Virgin Money is changing the following terms on its cards:

Ultimately, while some of the terms of the card are changing, doing away with foreign transaction fees on many international purchases is a sure improvement for cardholders. While the changes are inclusive of all international expenses — purchases made in the U.S., for example, will still incur the 2.99% fee — those made in the EEA will be able to take advantage of fee-free purchases. Using either the no-fee Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card or Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card while travelling in Europe just became much more attractive options.

Feature photo by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy.

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