When you are away

Using your cards abroad
Paying in local currency
Using your devices
Shopping abroad
If something goes wrong

Using your cards abroad

There are a number of ways you can access money abroad. You can use your debit or credit card at an ATM or to pay for something. If you are not sure whether your card will be accepted in certain countries, ask your bank, but generally, if it has a Mastercard or Visa symbol, it will be accepted. If you travelling in the Eurozone you’ll be charged exactly the same as you would in Ireland for using an ATM or buying something using your debit or credit card. But if you are going outside the Eurozone, you need to be aware of the charges.

For security reasons, your bank may also reduce the amount of cash you can withdraw each day from an ATM outside the EU. Make sure to check this limit with your bank before you travel.

Debit card charges Credit card charges


If you are outside the Eurozone, you will pay a transaction fee every time you use your card to get money from an ATM or to buy something. This is usually a percentage of the value of the transaction, but most banks have a minimum fee per transaction, as much as €3.00 each time you use your card.


So bear in mind that using your card a lot can be expensive. In addition to the transaction fees, your bank will also charge you for converting the transaction into euro every time you use your debit card.

If you are outside the Eurozone, you pay a currency conversion fee every time you use your credit card to buy something, or to get money from an ATM. This is a percentage of the transaction amount, but there is usually a minimum transaction charge. So, if you use your credit card a lot, these charges can quickly add up.

If you use your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, you pay a currency conversion fee and a cash advance fee.

To avoid paying cash withdrawal fees you can lodge money to your credit card account. But check first with your credit card provider, as you may still be charged these.

Top tip
Check out our current account Money Tool to find out about all the charges that apply when you use your cards abroad.

Paying in local currency

If you don’t like to bring cash on holidays, you can use your debit or credit card. The retailer may give you the option to pay in your own currency, for example Euro, or in the local currency. It is usually cheaper to pay in the local currency.

New payment services from fintech companies have different pricing models, but generally allow you a certain amount of foreign transactions before any fees are charged.

Using your devices

When you go on holidays you may want to bring some devices with you, whether it’s your mobile phone or a tablet. Since 2017, roaming charges were abolished in the EU. This means you can ‘roam like at home’ and pay the same for calls and texts as you would at home. If your bundle includes unlimited calls and texts, then you also have unlimited calls and texts in the EU.

If your bundle includes a large amount or unlimited data your operator can put a ‘fair usage’ cap on this while roaming. They should send you an alert when you are about to reach the limit. You can also make use of free wifi when you are abroad to avoid additional charges for data.

EU rules that came into effect in 2018 also mean you can access digital content that you subscribe to at home, wherever you are in the EU. This means that you no longer have to miss out on your favourite TV shows, movies or matches while you’re away.

These benefits apply if you are travelling within the EU. If you are travelling to other countries you should check the cost of calls, texts and data before you go and make sure that your device will work in that country.

Shopping abroad

If you buy something while abroad and you have a problem with it, there are several things you can do. Remember, if you buy something from a website that is based outside of Ireland, this is not the same as buying items in person abroad. We have information on shopping online to help you too.

If you buy something in the EU you are entitled to the same consumer rights as if you bought it in Ireland.

If you get home and discover a problem, it is very unlikely that you will be able to return the goods in person. You can contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland (ECC Ireland) through its contact form, who will explain your rights and suggest remedies. The ECC can help if you purchased the goods in another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom and have exhausted the trader’s complaints process first.

If something goes wrong

  • Find out what your rights are if your flight is cancelled or delayed at IAA.ie. Also, find out how to complain about lost luggage.
  • If you book a package holiday, the travel agent or tour operator is responsible for making sure your holiday runs smoothly. You can complain to them if you are not happy with any element of your holiday.
  • Gather as much evidence of the problem while you are away, for example take photos or videos. Find out if you need to get police reports if it’s something you will want to claim on your travel insurance when you get back. Keep receipts for anything you had to pay for that you will want to claim for later.

Last updated on 4 May 2023