Purchasing from non UK sites no fees

Hey guys/girls,
I have seen a few of you saying you use your monzo on Amazon US without any fees etc. I understand the non fee part but I don’t understand how buying something from Amazon US than UK one? Like what’s the benefit and if there are any sites in which is worth buying from that are abroad please link them.
Monzo releases so many chains banks put on and that’s why I love them. But I just haven’t found a way to take full advantage of its abroad and non UK currency purchase features :joy:

the reason for buying from Amazon.com or Amazon.de etc instead of Amazon.co.uk is that some things are not available on the UK site. Buying from the European sites is duty free (at least until Brexit) but when buying from a US site the parcel may be stopped by customs and you have to pay them duty (the Post Office collect it for them) before they will let you have the parcel

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The other advantage is when you go to other countries you can pay for stuff without fees :stuck_out_tongue:

ie. When I was last in the US I bought stuff on Amazon.com without having to worry about annoying card fees :slight_smile:

Would you pay for the non duty free items on purchase or would you get a separate email telling you to pay for the duty

If it is shipped by regular posts you will receive a regular mail/delivery notice card and you will have to go in person to pay the fees and collect your package.

Some couriers like UPS pay the charge for you and deliver you the parcel directly (including small extra tax for doing you this favour, heads up they won’t ask you if you want it, they just do it, good luck disputing the charge).

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Just a note, but make sure you opt out of DCC (in Amazon’s case, Amazon Currency Conversion). It’s a bad deal for you!


With Royal Mail / ParcelForce it is usually a card thru the door telling you where to go to pay and collect…or you can return the card with stamps on it to the value, but if that got lost in the post you would end up paying twice

Amazon I believe in selected countries (like the UK) will collect import fees at purchase from Amazon.com delivered to a UK address but most do not.


There are reasons beyond pure availability as well: Some items are significantly cheaper in Europe than in the UK. When I bought my coffee machine, the exact same machine (except that it had a different plug) that cost £1,000 in the UK (when on offer!) cost 700€ (at that time that was about £550) at amazon.de (at regular price!). Even if you throw in shipping and the cost for the adapter, it’s a huge saving.

There are a few things to watch out for when buying stuff abroad:

  • Warranties are often (though not at all always!) only valid in the country the item was purchased - even for large, international corporations.
  • Customs charges (when ordering from outside the EU) can be costly (and time consuming - I have had simple letters stuck at customs for weeks on end.)
  • Beware Amazon, PayPal, etc. trying to do the currency conversion for you. That’s usually their default, but almost always singificantly more expensive than your bank (even if it’s not Monzo)
  • Consumer rights are quite different in different countries. E.g. in the UK you can usually return your item within 14 days, if you change your mind. If you order something from the US you have no such right as far as I know (and even if you did, the cost of return postage would often be quite high). In the EU you usually have at least the same or even better consumer rights than in the UK, but again, high postage may make returns unpractical.
  • For electical devices beware of different voltages in different countries. Stuff from the EU will be fine (with adaptor), but in some parts of the world (including parts of the US) they don’t just use a different plug shape, but different voltage, and you’d need a transformer, rather than a simple adaptor. Those can be expensive.
  • Things can get lost or damaged in the mail, and when dealing with someone abroad, it can be particularly troublesome (My coffee machine took almost a year to arrive from Germany, because the courier lost it, compensated me a mean 50€, then found it 8 months later, while I was disputing the compensation, and asked if I still wanted it. I said yes, but by the time it arrived it was damaged. So the courier company paid for the repair, after first trying to blame the sender. While at repair with DeLonghi they mixed up the machine with another customer’s, which they only noticed after they had returned the wrong machine to both that customer and ourselves, and had to send them both back to their repair centre, before sending it back out to us. We got further compensation from DeLonghi for that mix up, and eventually received the fully working machine about 11 months after originally ordering it. That was a fun year, with lots of “I really can’t believe this” moments!)

I once bought from QVC DE instead of QVC UK and not only was it cheaper but it arrived in 24hrs! Even stuff I order in UK struggles to do that. Just worried as the Government screw up Brexit that we will be faced with paying Duty on everything we order from the EU.


Very true, but most electronics/etc these days have switched mode power supplies that can happily handle any voltage in common use around the world. Check the label, but for most electronics, even if they’re from a country with a different voltage or frequency, you still only need a simple adapter.


Buying from a European site means you’ll be paying VAT already. It’s not ‘tax free’.


Yep. VAT paid but when we leave EU it will be subject to import duty based on actual or perceived value of the item just as things are currently from outside EU

I did wonder if that’s what you were getting at. :+1: