Whenever you are considering a vacation overseas, there are plenty of things that you might consider: what outfits to take, where to eat, and what you can and cannot take on the plane are just a few examples.
Many, however, fail to consider whether or not they should take their credit cards with them, and if so, which ones they should take. The reality is that there are plenty of money traps out there for people who do not make these considerations.
Below, we will outline several things you must consider before embarking on a vacation with any particular credit card.
Foreign Transaction Fees
Whenever you sign up for a credit card, you may fail to read all of the fine print. Within many contracts is the authorization of a foreign transaction fee. If you card is subject to one of these fees, then the bank can charge you up to three percent every time you make a purchase. This fee is often shared between the credit card company and the bank. For every $1000 you plan to spend while on vacation, foreign transaction fees can eat up $30 if your card is subject to it.
If your bank has agreements with select ATM networks overseas, then withdrawing money is just as simple and free as it would be at home. If your card issuer does not, however, then you can expect more fees whenever you wish to grab some cash. Many ATM fees range from $3-5 while overseas; usually not enough to make you want to head to a currency exchange, so the vast majority simply pay the fee.
Throughout most of the world, credit cards have been revamped with a new form of technology, EMV, which is more secure and involves your credit card being “chipped”. In the United States, though, traditional magnetic technology is still in use. This generally is not a problem when dealing with a traditional retail outlet where there is an attendant who has access to a compatible credit card machine, but automated facilities and vending stations may not be able to process the card. Luckily, most banks can issue you one of these cards for use overseas.
Using cards that are branded by airlines can score you benefits that traditional cards will not, but you will need to check with the issuer to be sure. Likewise, some credit cards offer travel insurance, but many advertise a watered-down version that only covers you in the event of error on the part of the card company or the booking entity.