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Problems with Santander [the Bank; not the place]


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We have a Santander Zero account as there are no fees for use abroad [having previously used Nationwide Flex account] .. but…. when I phoned in March to say we would be away for 3 months they insisted that I name 3 countries. I explained that we would be wandering in Europe and had no fixed plans.


They would not accept “Euro zone and Switzerland”


Unhappy with this really unhelpful hard and fast rule, I rang the Complaints Dept, and a very helpful lady said it was not a problem, they can place a “General Holiday Flag” against the account for the period during which we’d be away, and this is normal practice for customers who go on cruises for example, which take in more than 3 countries.


All was well. No problems using the debit card during the 3 months away.


Next month, we are going away again for 6 weeks and have no hard and fast route planned so I thought I’d ring and place the General Holiday Flag on the account again for the relevant dates.


Nothing doing. And, apparently, according to the 4 different people with whom I have spoken, the lady who was so helpful in March gave me misinformation!!!


I do understand and appreciate the need for security, but if we say “in Europe” why can that not suffice - we do not have this problem with our Credit Card providers, and did not experience that with Nationwide Flex account.


Can anyone recommend a more helpful bank? One preferably with no fees for cash withdrawal!! [Or are these restrictions the price we pay for ‘no fees’???] How do others manage when away for a length of time, wandering feely from country to country?


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So, can you work around the restriction? Can you, for instance, name more than three countries? Is your lack of planning really so total that if you said, for example, Spain, Portugal and France, you might turn up unexpectedly in Estonia? Most folk have at least some idea whether they will turn left or right out of Calais, or just go straight on.


Can you phone in a new country while away, and cancel a country you had earlier nominated, if their limit really is three?


The problem may be that "Europe", as in EC, includes the 17 Eurozone countries as well as the ten others, while both definitions would exclude Switzerland, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, FYROM, Montenegro, Turkey east of the Bosporus, and, some might argue, Ukraine and Belarus - all with their own currencies.

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They are adamant on 3 countries, and 3 only.


We do, of course, have some vague ideas. I've planned 2 loose, very loose, routes. 1 is entirely in France. The other takes in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. But that’s not to say we wouldn’t cross into Austria or Italy… as we did on the 3 months’ excursion….


We do have other [credit] cards…. But the Santander Zero account was ‘sold’ to us as meeting travelling needs…..


And why we were able to place this “General Holiday Flag” in March; now it cannot be done? Does it depend on who you get to speak to at the time? Why are other banks / card providers less restrictive???


Can anyone suggest a more helpful bank?


And as for phoning Santander.... generally one has to hang on in a queue for 10 / 15 minutes [or longer].... don't fancy trying that on a mobile phone!!!





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laimeduck - 2011-07-25 2:08 PM



Have a look at this link which lists a load of possible cards



I got the Saga Platinum card and so far so good. I don't however draw cash unless its an emergency - (I am not away for long periods.....yet!)


Thanks. I see we have trodden the same path!!! I too have the Saga Platinum and the Halifax Clarity cards, based on that website's advice, which also recommended the Santander Zero card ....... I like to draw cash on a debit card if possible. I use credit cards for purchases.

Saga and Halifax and Nationwide don't impose this 3 country limit..... I suppose Santander is catering for people who fly off to a fixed destination for 2 weeks in the sun, and not for the "nomads"!



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Have you thought of the euro card that you pre-load from the Post Office ? we have never used it but know of someone that has and it comes with a If ' Lost or stolen gaurantee' that it is replaced. We used our Nationwide card this year and it cost us on withdrawels of 300Eu approx £6.45 which are taken from your account not the amount from the machine ! were considering using the euro card for next year and just using the Nationwide if we need extra.
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Yes, thanks, we had thought about it, in passing, but when Nationwide had their very good Flex account, with no charges, we didn't look any further.


We thought the same with Santander Zero account!! Until today.....


Now I'll have a good look at those pre-load card schemes.

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