Yes, we do.
Anyway, I think that's your problem, that you've never used a credit card before. One of the biggest things working towards your credit rating is your credit card use. Now, although not using a credit card isn't a minus, you don't get the major plus of using a credit card regularly, and paying it off properly. It was one thing we noticed, that some of us had far better records and earnings then others but still couldn't get an account, and it looked like that was the reason.
I don't think there is any other bank which doesn't charge for using the account abroad, but there are some credit cards - like from Abbey or the Post Office credit card, which don't charge for use abroad. However, their credit checks are also very stringent. I know you don't want to use credit cards, but if you know your budget, you could just use it for this trip, and then throw it out (you can even put money into the credit card account before you spend it, so you'll never actually be in debt). Of course this is assuming you want to spend money shopping, and don't need to withdraw cash, since withdrawing cash on a credit card does get you charged.
I don't understand why they would do a credit check for this account, it's just a bank account where you can't spend what's not in it
That's what annoys me, it simply doesn't make any sense.
I think it might be more strict with me because I don't have any sort of account with Nationwide, I'm a brand new customer but that still doesn't explain this.