Thousands of expat Barclaycard customers will have accounts shut

Thousands of expats with Barclaycard will see their accounts closed after a change in terms and conditions at the credit card giant, we can reveal.

This is Money reader Mike contacted us after receiving a letter at his home in Florida, US. He has held a Visa card with the firm for 40 years.

In the letter seen by This is Money, it says in bold font at the top: ‘we need to confirm your UK residential address by 6 August 2018’.

Cut up your card: The Barclaycard letter says that if no UK address can be provided, cards will stop working on 6 August – after that point, the card should be cut up

It goes on to state: ‘We realise you’ve had a Barclaycard for some time at your current (non-UK) address.

‘As it’s part of our terms and conditions that customers must have a current UK residential address, we’re sorry to tell you that your account will have to close on 19 September 2018.’

Mike was a Spanish resident between 2004 and 2014 when the changed the address on the account, and notified it again in 2015 when moving to the States.

Mike told This is Money: ‘At first I thought this might be part money laundering requirements to provide proof of address – however, it is nothing to do with that and just an internal change of T&Cs by Barclaycard.

‘Many expats like myself use a sterling credit card when they have moved off-shore to purchase goods from the UK or go for a visit there, in August my card will be cancelled and I’ll have to use my US dollar credit card.

‘There are many expats in the EU who similarly use a UK credit card on visits who will also be prevented from using their card in future and I’m certain they are unaware this is happening.

‘Even worse is that Barclaycard sent an unsolicited email requesting personal details – it’s not clear the email actually came from them and it could be a scam. 

‘It isn’t but I’d advise anyone in the same boat to call them.’

Life's a beach: Mike, who resides in Florida, has been a Barclaycard customer for 40 years

Life’s a beach: Mike, who resides in Florida, has been a Barclaycard customer for 40 years

Mike has lodged a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman about the changes. Barclaycard has 10million customers – it is not clear how many will see their accounts closed overseas.

Barclaycard says it has been in touch with all affected customers to explain the changes and options open to them.

It adds that expats in a number of countries, including Australia, France and Spain, will be able to keep their accounts open. 

The US is not on the list, along with the majority of EU countries. Barclaycard says the list is based on countries that can be serviced by a UK-based financial organisation.  

A spokesman said: ‘We regularly review our policies and have made changes to the list of “supported countries” in which customers can reside and hold an open personal credit card account.

The full list of supported countries is now as follows: UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, BFPO), Australia, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Spain, and Jersey, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Falklands Islands.

‘We value all of our customers, but cardholders must now reside in either the UK or one of the supported countries where they can be serviced by a UK-based financial organisation.’

Expats cannot simply change the address to a family member or friend in the UK. 

This is because Barclaycard T&Cs state that the customer should be living at the address associated with the account.

In 2014, thousands of expat customers who hadn’t used their cards for at least six months were contacted by Barclaycard with a view of closing accounts. 

Barclaycard is a division of Barclays. In 2015, This is Money revealed how expat accounts in some countries, such as Cyprus, Greece and Malta, were being closed to focus on a ‘core set’ of countries.