Wise reveals top 20 most expensive countries to withdraw cash, amid half-term peak travel-time

- Wise can reveal the most expensive European countries to withdraw cash in, with Iceland taking the top spot.

- As many Brits plan winter trips abroad, being smart about withdrawing cash will make a big difference to holiday budgets. 

When travelling abroad, many holidaymakers opt for cash to help manage their budgets. Often customers know to check the exchange rate when exchanging money at a bureau de change, or sending money abroad. However, it isn’t always clear what ATMs abroad charge to withdraw money. 

To help those planning a winter trip abroad, Wise can today reveal the most expensive destinations across Europe to withdraw cash in. 

Poor exchange rates combined with hefty fees can make a serious dent in the holiday budget, so being smart about how you withdraw cash will make a big difference. 

Despite the rising cost of living, people are still keen to travel. So, to help Brits get more for their money, Wise has put together a list of the European countries with the most expensive ATM fees, so travellers can prepare before their winter holidays. 

Winter-break favourite Iceland came out as the most expensive, with a fee of  almost 9% per transaction. Much-loved sunshine spot Portugal came out as one of the cheapest countries, with ATMs charging only 0.56% per transaction. 

To put this in perspective, if someone  were to withdraw £50 per day for 7 days while on holiday in Iceland, totalling £350, they’d pay the equivalent of £31.50 in fees. In contrast, if they visited Portugal and took out the same amount of cash, they’d only pay £1.96 in fees. 

To make your holiday budget stretch further, do your research before taking money out at an ATM. Here are some tips from Wise that holidaymakers should keep in mind: 

- Do your research on where to withdraw your money. It may be cheapest to do this before you leave — however, it’s still best to avoid the Bureau de Change at the airport. 

- Check what fees your card provider charges you. Although most providers allow withdrawals overseas, these are usually very expensive. 

- Some providers may offer free ATM withdrawals abroad up to a certain threshold. 

- To save money, either exchange money before you travel, or bring a multi-currency card to withdraw money once you arrive. 

- If you’re able to, you can “shop around” once you arrive at your destination. If there are several ATMs within a short distance of each other, it may be worth comparing their rates, as fees will vary from bank to bank. 

- Never withdraw money on a credit card, as the fees will be very high, and you’ll be charged interest. 

- If you’re given an option on how to “pay” when withdrawing money at the machine, make sure you select the local currency.

Nilan Peiris, Chief Product Officer at Wise, explains “When budgeting for a holiday, people tend to think about the best card to use, but don’t often consider how much it will cost them to withdraw money. While the UK is increasingly cashless, many top holiday destinations are still reliant on cash.

As more households turn to cash in light of the cost of living crisis,  cash machine fees need to be more clear for those travelling. Hidden fees have a big impact on people’s purchasing power both domestically and abroad, so it’s important that banks put the customer first, and be transparent about how much they’re charging customers. 

If a country you’re heading to during half-term is one of the more expensive countries in our ranking, make sure you pay extra care to ATMs that might be ripping you off, and keep your hard-earned cash for some fun holiday activities.”

About Wise

Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move money around the world. With the Wise account people and businesses can hold over 50 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new cross-border payments network that will one day power money without borders for everyone, everywhere. However you use the platform, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money.

Co-founded by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world’s fastest growing, profitable technology companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

16 million people and businesses use Wise globally, which processes £9 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers around £1.5 billion a year.

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