Using Credit Cards When Abroad

By Eliza Daglish on May 1, 2012

Traveling Credit Cards Whenever we are getting ready to leave the country on vacation or for business, there are plenty of things that go on our checklists prior to departure. Our credit and debit card usage, however, may be far from our minds when making the final preparations. Before heading out on your trip, make sure to check out these credit card tips and suggestions in order to avoid hassle and trouble once arriving in the country.

Call Your Bank

Before you get on the plane, you will want to give your bank a call and let them know that you are heading out of the country. In many cases, debit and credit cards do not come with international expenditures automatically enabled, so you may find your card not functioning if you arrive in another country and have not spoken with your bank yet. By giving them a call and informing them that you need access to your card internationally, your card will be instantly activated to work anywhere in the world.

Check For Fees

Depending on the bank and card, you may end up having to pay an additional foreign transaction fee for all expenditures made outside the country. According to a study by Pew Charitable Trusts, over 90% of bank cards and nearly 60% of credit union cards charge additional fees when making purchases overseas. This is predominantly done to cover any loss, damage or fraudulent activity that may come from using a card in an unfamiliar location.

Pay In Local Currency

Many dealers will take advantage of you if they think you do not understand currency rates and will offer to allow you to pay in dollars as opposed to the local currency. People who do this often are ripped off by scheming merchants who mark up the rate in dollars and can get away with it due to your lack of knowledge. If you are unsure of the rate, use a smartphone app or similar feature to make sure the rate is right and always pay in the currency that is predominantly used in the country.

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