Foreign usage fees: Saga to scrap its specialist over-50s Platinum credit card

Updated on 12 February 2019 | 1 Comment

Saga's Platinum Card is a popular option with over-50s as it offered fee-free use overseas. But it's being shut down on 28th March.

Borrowers aged over-50 will have one fewer card to choose from when shopping around for a new plastic friend after Saga announced it is to drop its Platinum credit card.

The card is being shut down for all borrowers on 28th March, with no alternative card set up.

As a result, you will have 60 days in which to clear your balance or shift it onto a new card.

While this will come as a blow to existing customers, the good news is there are plenty of other providers offering competitive foreign usage credit cards.

Why was the Platinum card popular?

There were plenty of attractive features to Saga’s Platinum card, particularly for people that like to travel.

For example, there were no fees charged when used for spending abroad, while cardholders also benefited from discounts on Saga holidays and cruises.

It came with a pretty low interest rate too, for borrowers who didn’t manage to clear their bill in full, of just 11.9% APR.

Why is it being withdrawn?

Saga’s credit card is provided by Allied Irish Bank, and the partnership between the two firms is coming to an end on 28th March.

As a result, the card is going to be closed down as well. Despite the timing - the card is disappearing the day before Brexit is due to take place - it doesn’t appear that this is related to the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU.

Saga began contacting borrowers last month to try to give them sufficient notice about the move.

What should I do?

If you are a Saga Platinum cardholder, and you have an outstanding balance on the card, then you have a few options. Ideally, you should look to clear that balance in its entirety by the 28th March.

If this isn’t possible, then you might want to look at transferring the balance onto a different card.

If you have a hefty debt to pay off, then going for a leading 0% balance transfer credit card is a good idea, as you’ll be able to clear the debt in chunks without incurring interest.

If the debt is less significant, it still will be worth going for a 0% balance transfer card, albeit one with a smaller interest-free period but which doesn’t charge a transfer fee.

Cardholders with outstanding debt who don’t pay it off or move it onto a new card may have the debt transferred to a third party. In this situation, the interest rate could easily be cranked up, making repaying that debt far more expensive.

Check out our guide to the best 0% balance transfer cards.

Other cards to consider

The big selling point of Saga’s Platinum card was that it offered a cracking deal for people that want to spend overseas.

Thankfully there are plenty of other cards worth a look if you are heading off on holiday and want to be free of the various additional charges and fees that many cards hit us with.

For example, there’s the Barclaycard Platinum Cashback Plus. It doesn’t charge interest on foreign cash withdrawals from the moment you withdraw the cash, unlike most cards, while the same applies to foreign spending.

On top of that, it pays 0.25% cashback on the money you spend.

Another excellent option is the Santander Zero MasterCard, which doesn’t charge a fee when you spend or withdraw cash overseas. Be warned though, interest is charged on those withdrawals from the moment you take the money out.

Then there’s the Tandem Journey MasterCard, which also offers fee-free spending and cash withdrawals when you’re abroad.

A big plus point for the Tandem card is that it’s available to borrowers who only have a very limited credit history, whereas most top travel cards are reserved for those with an extensive credit record.

For more, check out our roundup of the best fee-free credit cards to use abroad.


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