4 Tips for Using Credit Cards Overseas

Tourism is costly. Why will cities and countries compete so fiercely to host major sporting competitions such as the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the Olympics, and the World Cup? Even though these events are expensive in terms of facilities, planning, and protection, they benefit local economies by the business at local hotels, restaurants, and shops. As a result, whether we know it or not, the bulk of our travel expenses are borne by transactions with local merchants. This is valid if you plan ahead of time for hotels and day trips or simply shop and eat when you arrive. As a result, you might wonder what the best method is for paying all of these merchants. Is it money? Is it a traveler's check or a cashier's check? Is it a debit or credit card?

International travel and tourism can be thrilling or soothing, but visitors must plan how they will make purchases while on vacation.

Credit cards make it easier to spend while travelling because cash is inconvenient, exchange rates are difficult to predict, and it is vulnerable to robbery. If a credit card is lost, it can be suspended and replaced quickly.

Make sure you're aware of the international fees and limitations associated with your credit card. There are a few cards that do not charge an international transaction fee, but the majority would.

Tell your card issuer about your travel plans ahead of time so they don't think your card was stolen and used without your permission.

Using Your Credit Card While Traveling

Although you'll still need some cash, using a credit card for all of your purchases will make travelling abroad much easier. With a credit card, you won't have to worry about converting currency, so you won't have to worry about converting the right amount of money, and you'll get one of the best conversion rates available. Pickpockets will also be less of a challenge, not only because credit cards are easier to hide and keep safe, but also because you will not risk money if your card is stolen. Simply report your card missing, and you'll be released from all liability for fraudulent transactions.

However, merely using a credit card does not make overseas spending less expensive. To make that target a reality, you'll need to follow four easy steps.

Until Leaving

Tip 1: Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

According to a report conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit devoted to public education, 91 percent of bank cards and 57 percent of credit union cards charge fees for purchases made outside the United States. These fees normally vary from 2% to 3% of each purchase, resulting in you paying considerably more than the listed price of something you buy in another country.

Check your credit and debit card agreements before you leave to see if any fees are included. If they do, get a credit card with no overseas transaction fees and a debit card with no additional fees for ATM withdrawals in other countries. Although these types of spending vehicles are becoming more common, Capital One remains the leading issuer of credit cards with no international transaction fees.

Tip 2: Before you go, call your credit card company.

Once you have all of the necessary cards, notify your issuer of your travel arrangements and request a phone number to call for assistance while abroad. This will not only prevent your cards from being suspended due to suspicious behaviour, but it will also provide you with a free way to contact your issuer if anything comes up.

When Traveling

3rd Tip: Don't Use Dynamic Currency Conversions

We all have a hard time comparing foreign currency to the American dollar, at least on the spot when shopping. At the checkout counter, foreign retailers take advantage of this fact by promising to quote the final price in US dollars and, unbeknownst to visitors, converting at an uncompetitive exchange rate. It is, however, very easy to avoid these needless costs. Simply refuse to sign any check or receipt that is not written in the local currency. If you're concerned about calculating the cost of meals and goods while travelling, review conversion rates before leaving or download a phone app.

Tip #4: Keep your passport with you at all times.

European credit cards have exceeded American credit cards in terms of fraud protection since the implementation of chip-and-pin technology. In the United States, cards do use the less-sophisticated magnetic stripe scheme, which is no longer trusted internationally. As a result, if you don't have proper identification, many foreign merchants, especially in Europe, will refuse to accept your credit card. However, as long as you have your visa, you should be fine. Merchants simply want to know that the person using a credit card is the one who has permission to do so.


Although travelling abroad can be both confusing and costly, there are ways to cut costs and simplify the process. You should be able to prevent post-trip credit statement surprises if you have a credit card with no international transaction charge, inform your credit card issuer of your travel plans, and only pay for transactions expressed in the local currency. Furthermore, due to a European Payment Council resolution restricting the use of magnetic strip credit cards, you must remember to carry your passport with you everywhere you go, as well as a debit card that can be used internationally without incurring additional fees.

Finally, a trip abroad should not be marred by concerns about currency exchange rates and managing foreign currency. So, before you leave, get the right spending vehicles and allow your attention to shift to where it belongs: having a good time or getting down to business.

Thank you for reading till the end.