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Travelling abroad? Santander offers 1% cashback on overseas spending – but watch out for exchange fees

New and existing Mastercard credit card customers at Santander are now able to earn 1% cashback on overseas spending – but many will pay a 2.95% exchange fee, which negates the cashback. Here's what you need to know.

The 1% cashback deal is open to Santander Mastercard customers who spend £500 or more overseas between Monday 13 June and 18 September 2022, though the max you can earn is £100 cashback. It's paid out at the end of September. 

Some cards, however, charge an exchange fee and/or a cash withdrawal fee. So some cardholders will find they're paying more in fees than they receive as cashback.

Santander's credit cards charge up to 3% for overseas use

The benefits of this deal can be entirely cancelled out by the high exchange fees charged by the bank, though the amount you'll pay differs depending on the card you have:

  • Santander Zero has no overseas fees. This card is no longer on sale, but if you have one, here the offer is likely worthwhile (though take a look at our top pick overseas spending card below).

  • Santander 123, All in One and World Elite have no overseas spending fees, but charge a 3% (min £3) ATM fee. If you can avoid withdrawing cash on these and stick to spending, the cashback is an added bonus.

  • All other Santander credit cards charge a 2.95% exchange fee on overseas spending and cash withdrawals, plus the 3% (min £3) ATM fee. So if you spent £500 overseas, you'd earn £5 cashback but would be charged £14.75.

Get top rates abroad with no fees and 1% cashback for a year elsewhere

If you're looking for cashback and top rates abroad, Santander can be beaten by the app-only Chase debit card. This gives near-perfect Mastercard exchange rates with no fees on spending or cash withdrawals worldwide (max £1,500 a month of overseas cash withdrawals). This is alongside 1% cashback on most spending for the first 12 months, which you can activate in the app.

However, there is currently a three to five-week waiting list. If you're travelling sooner, take a look at our Travel credit cards guide for the other top picks, including £20 cashback on the Halifax Clarity credit card.

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