Halifax Clarity vs. Post Office credit card

samantha smith
By Samantha Smith

gold credit card world

AN introductory period could make the Post Office credit card a real challenger to Halifax's Clarity card when it comes to foreign spending.

Halifax's Clarity credit card (review here) has been proclaimed perfect for using abroad, with no fees for using it to buy things, or for taking out local currency.

The Post Office Platinum credit card (review here) does charge fees for cash advances - but time it right, and spending anywhere in the world is interest free for three months.

For those willing to juggle applications and carry both cards, that's the key to saving even more money while abroad.

Halifax Clarity

The advertised rate for what Moneysavingexpert calls a "perfect" card is a representative APR (variable) of 18.9%, but only 51% of applicants get this.

For those who don't qualify for the low rate, the representative APRs are 21.9% and 25.9% (both variable).

On top of that there's:

  • 18.9% Representative APR (variable)
  • No fees on cash withdrawals or use abroad
  • No annual fee
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable), your representative APR will be 18.9% APR (variable).

Post Office Credit Card

The Post Office credit card comes in two flavours: Matched and Platinum. We look at both in more detail in our review of the cards, but here we focus on the Platinum card, which offers an APR of 17.8% representative (variable)

Holders also get:

  • No fees on overseas purchases
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months, 2.89% balance transfer fee applies (made within 3 months of account opening)
  • 0% on purchases for the first 28 months
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable), your representative APR will be 18.9% APR (variable).
Post Office Credit Cards are provided by Bank of Ireland UK. Post Office Limited is a credit broker and not a lender.

Here's how they compare:

Halifax Clarity Post Office Platinum
Annual fee £0 £0
APR representative (variable) 18.9% APR 17.8% APR
Introductory rate? No 0% on purchases for 3 months; 0% on balance transfers for 18 months
Cash advance fee None 2.5% (with a minimum cost of £3)
Foreign currency charges 0% non-sterling transaction fee
0% cash advance fee
Standard cash advance fee waived for foreign currency bought at Post Office
0% non-sterling transaction fee
Cash advance when abroad: 2.5% (with a minimum cost of £3)
Exchange rates used MasterCard Exchange Rate MasterCard Exchange Rate
Purchase protection? Standard Section 75 protection only. Items insured against accidental damage, loss and theft for up to 90 days.

Rates and fees in the table above were correct at the byline date of this article.

If it's not clear enough from the above, the only extra expense involved in using the Halifax card abroad is in the form of interest, and that's at a lower rate than the Post Office Classic credit card.

Overseas Transaction Euros Exchange Rate* Sterling Amount Non-Sterling Transaction Fee Cash Advance Fee Total
Post Office Purchase €100 1.366173 £73.16 0.00% n/a £73.16
Cash Advance €100 1.366173 £73.16 0.00% 2.50% (subject to £3.00 minimum charge) £76.16
Halifax Clarity Purchase €100 1.366173 £73.16 0.00% n/a £73.16
Cash Advance €100 1.366173 £73.16 0.00% 0.00% £73.16

*Exchange rate that of 18/09/2015. Actual rate is set by the daily MasterCard exchange rate at the time of transaction

While not as apparently perfect for going abroad as the Halifax card, the Post Office credit card has a trick up its sleeve.

Looking at the features that come with the card, it's clear it's been designed to appeal to users wanting to use it in two very different ways: either for balance transfers or for use abroad.

Those who want to use it abroad might be able to take advantage of the introductory 0% rate on purchases for three months.

Time the application right, and as well as being able to spend cheaply while away, the new cardholder has an extended period to pay off their foreign spending without incurring interest.

The thing to remember is never to use it to get physical money.

Even taking advantage of the cash advance waiver on foreign currency at the Post Office isn't entirely wise, as cash advances aren't classed as purchases.

Instead they're subject to interest at an annual rate of 27.9% from the date the advance is debited to the account.

In comparison, cash withdrawals made using the Halifax Clarity card are not only free of the advance fee, but they're subject to the same 18.9% APR interest rate as purchases.

The canny cardholder will therefore plan to have both cards with them, and use their shiny new Post Office card for purchases, and the Halifax Clarity card for withdrawals.

Note that the Post Office cards also offer purchase protection, free of charge, although subject to terms and conditions - and it isn't immediately clear if international spending is covered.

The World Wide Web

While spending abroad might be the main attraction with both of these cards, that 0% non-sterling transaction fee is also useful back home.

Shopping online means being able to get anything from anywhere, and occasionally that means buying something - books, sweets from home, special editions of albums, collectibles - from a foreign site.

Many sites offer internationally accepted forms of payment, such as credit cards or Paypal.

When the statement arrives, or Paypal takes payment from the nominated bank account, there'll be another charge near the payment, usually with the reference "NSTF" (Non-Sterling Transaction Fee).

But that won't happen using either of these cards - although customs fees and ridiculous postage costs may still be an issue.


21 February 2017
Angus Douglas

I understand that using a Halifax clarity credit card I can use this for purchases in Canada and the US. When the bill comes, I can pay the total amount (converted from Canada/US to sterling) without any additional charge. If I used the card to obtain local currency from an ATM would this attract an additional charge?

27 February 2017
Choose team

Hi Angus, there is no fee for withdrawals, but they will be subject to interest for the life of the outstanding balance. Hope this helps!

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