Midland card cash limit reins in travellers

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The Independent Online
HOLIDAYMAKERS trying to use Midland Bank credit cards abroad for emergency cash may find that they are refused, because the bank applies strict limits on the amount that can be withdrawn.

Using a credit card to obtain cash is now the simplest way of obtaining cash abroad. Visa and Access cards can be used in about 170,000 cash machines worldwide.

However, those with Midland Bank credit cards should be careful not to be too dependent on their plastic for cash if travelling abroad this autumn.

The Midland is the only large bank to impose a tight weekly limit on cash machine withdrawals. Holders of Midland Visa and Access cards may only withdraw pounds 200 a week, or the equivalent in local currency, from cash machines. This limit applies even to cardholders who hold both Visa and Access cards from the Midland.

In contrast, most credit card companies have daily withdrawal limits. Barclaycard holders are able to withdraw pounds 200 or the equivalent each day, subject only to their personal credit limits. Lloyds Access holders may obtain the equivalent of at least pounds 200 a day while abroad and possibly as much as pounds 500, if foreign cash machines are able to supply this much (the pounds 500 maximum applies in Britain).

Other card issuers have similar policies. Girobank has a daily pounds 250 limit, while Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Visa holders may take out up to pounds 300 a day. Even NatWest card-holders, who are restricted to withdrawals of pounds 100, at least have the chance to return daily to the cashpoint top up their spending money.

Midland customers can obtain cash up to their credit limit, but only by using their cards over the counter at banks.

A Midland spokesman said the bank had not been aware it was out of step with competitors on cash machine withdrawals. 'We're going to have a look at this again,' he said.

If you are planning to use your credit card for cash withdrawals abroad, make sure you know your PIN number. This could be the time, too, to check whether your credit limit is appropriate. An increased limit can provide a safety net in the event of a holiday emergency.

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