Nationwide confuses everyone over ATM foreign Sterling withdrawals

This is a follow-up to my attempts to find out what charges would be applied if I withdraw sterling from an ATM in Kyrenia. “WoodSpeckie” on Cyprus44 wrote

“I telephoned Nationwide 1hr ago to tell them I will be using my debit card in North Cyprus, I asked to speak to a Manager and I told him I could withdraw Sterling from an ATM in NC and asked would I be charged, his answer was “no charge for sterling”. Also told me no commission on my credit card, this applies to NC & Turkey.”

In order to confirm this I wrote this email to Nationwide (this was my fourth attempt):

“When I use a FlexAccount Card to “WITHDRAW £100 IN £20 NOTES FROM A NORTH CYPRUS BANK ATM” and I only have exactly £100 in the account, and no overdraft, will I be charged anything by Nationwide and therefore be charged for an unauthorised withdrawal?

(a) Yes
(b) No
(c) see irrelevant information included below/above”

They replied as follows:

“I am sorry that our previous response did not help to answer your query. If you withdraw £100 at a foreign ATM you will be charged 2% of £100 and £1. If you only have £100 in your account at the time of withdrawal the charges will be taken anyway and you will incur 2 paid item fees at £15 each.

Natasha Heimers
Customer Consultant
Internet Services”
Well, I don’t use my Nationwide FlexAccount any more and instead I use a Halifax Clarity Card. I withdrew 300TL and was charged £126.65 but no other charges. I then went online a few days later and paid £126.65 which according to the literature will end in me being charged about 25p in interest charges. If I had left paying this amount off until the usual credit card payment date it would have cost me up to £2. We’ll see if the Halifax Clarity Card really is the cheapest way of withdrawing Turkish Lira in North Cyprus.
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