Today, traveling abroad without a credit card is something that is unheard of. People who are going on a holiday or on a business trip overseas always bring with them one or two credit cards which they would use to pay for their accommodation, for eating out, and shopping.
With these cards, travelers will have a larger amount of funds in their wallets or pockets without having to carry around a big wad of cash.
But before you get too excited about using your personalized credit cards for your next holiday or corporate trip overseas, make sure you follow these tips to ensure you can use your cards safely and without any snags:
Inform your credit card issuer about your upcoming trip
Regardless of how many days or weeks you will be away, make sure you inform the bank or card provider about your trip.
This is because many banks and credit card providers use security software to protect their clients from hackers and fraudsters.
If you don’t inform them that you are traveling overseas and you use your credit card in a country you have never visited before, your provider may find this sudden purchase suspicious. They will then decline your transaction or suspend your account.
Because of this, you won’t be able to use your credit card during your during your trip overseas.
To avoid going through this hassle, inform your issuer about your trip days before your flight.
Make sure you can use your card in your destination country
Although credit cards can be used anywhere in the world, you can reduce your worries about not being able to use yours during your trip overseas by asking your provider if your card is usually accepted in your country of destination.
Aside from asking your provider, talk with your travel agent. You can also send an email to your hotel and inquire about the same.
In case you are still using cards with magnetic stripes and you’re not sure you won’t be able to get one with an EMV chip in time, find out if you can still use your current charge cards.
Be aware of foreign transaction fees
Before leaving for your trip, take the time to know if your provider charges foreign transaction fees and how much they cost. In general, these foreign transaction fees can be as high as 3.50% of the total transaction amount.
In case you are shopping or eating at a restaurant and you will be asked if you want to pay in the local currency or in US dollars or the currency in your home country, consider paying with the local currency. This often comes out much cheaper.
In addition, by paying in the local currency, your card issuer will carry out the currency conversion rather than the retailer whose rates may be higher.
If you travel often, you would do well to get a credit card with low or no foreign transaction fees so that you can save more on your purchases.
Know the perks you may have access to
Certain credit cards offer a lot of travel-related privileges. These can include:
- Early boarding
- Free or discounted travel insurance
- Concierge services
- Free breakfast or discounts at restaurants
- Access to members-only airport lounges
Make sure you are aware of these perks so that you take advantage of them.
If you see more travels in the future, be on the lookout for credit card offers that provide rewards or points whenever you book your flight with certain airlines or hotels. By doing so, you will get additional value.
Always be alert
Lastly, although you may want nothing more than to relax and lighten up during your trip, you still need to be wary when using your credit card.
If you want to get a cash advance, check the ATM machine first for any skimming devices before you insert your card. Avoid inputting your card numbers into websites that don’t have a secure connection as well if you want to buy something online.
In addition, don’t keep all your cards and card-related information (such as your PIN number) in the same place when you travel. By doing this, you will have others you can still use if one of your cards gets lost or stolen.
Lastly, keep track of your balance every day. This is something that you can easily do now since you can check all your purchases by opening your credit card issuer’s website or app.
When you are overseas, continue being a responsible credit card holder.
This way, you will still enjoy your trip abroad and, at the same time, you will keep your purchases and your card secure, and you won’t be unpleasantly surprised by the statement you will receive at the end of the month.