Britons face more hurdles when traveling in the EU as banks charge extra fees

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Credit Agricole, a French international banking group, began charging UK bank cardholders making withdrawals from its ATMs in France €5, earlier this month. Meanwhile, British travelers to France reported that the bank also charged them €18 for cash transfers.

The decision, which will affect millions of travelers from the UK to France, is expected to be followed by other banks in the bloc and results from the UK’s exit from the European Union.

So far, UK citizens have not been charged extra fees when withdrawing and transferring money within the EU, as the bloc’s Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) prohibits states Member States to impose additional fees on nationals of other EU countries. Instead, all EU citizens, regardless of their nationality, should be subject to the same national charges as nationals of the country where they withdraw money.

Yet since the UK left the EU on December 31, 2020, UK citizens no longer benefit from these rules.

British citizen Florence Davies, who has a second home in France’s Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, says she was shocked when she withdrew cash from a Credit Agricole ATM, and that he charged her €5 more than usual.

I’m already struggling to spend enough time at home in Barcelonnette because of a rule that doesn’t allow me to stay longer than three months in a row, and now this. If things keep changing like this, it will become harder for me to keep this house,points out Davies.

The rule it refers to is the 90/180 days stay rule applied by Schengen countries. According to her, third-country nationals who can enter the EU without a visa are only allowed to stay in the EU for 90 days out of every 180 days.

>> Schengen Calculator – Calculate your short legal stay in Europe

I’ve been considering putting it up for sale for some time. With that money I could get a much better deal on a beach house somewhere in Albania or Montenegro“, says Davies, furious at the difficulties that a second home owner has caused for her since Brexit.

According to the National News, Crédit Agricole did not notify the UK Financial Conduct Authority of the new charges in advance. The move has been called illegal by the European Consumer Centre, which believes SEPA rules should still apply in the UK as the country remains a member of SEPA.

>> Rights of British second home owners in France from 1 January 2021

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