Considerations when using or applying for a credit card for use abroad
Holidays and vacations are all about relaxing and having fun, so it’s unlikely bills, balances, and credit cards are on your radar. Regardless, checking balances more often is probably good advice. If you’re looking to use or apply for a credit card for use abroad in the majority of your spending, then read the considerations below:
Let your credit card issuer know in advance if you’re travelling. Because card issuers use security software that can trace where their cards are used – and lock them out if necessary, you should inform the bank before your leave the country. You don’t want to be left with your pocket money and your source of funds unusable.
Also, ask if you have a daily spending limit or a withdrawal limit. While not every card does, it’s something you need to know before leaving home.
Modify payment due dates. Most people don’t know this, but credit card billing dates aren’t carved in stone. If you’re not juggling paychecks and bills, it will be much easier to remember one due date than say three or four. Call your card provider and get all your billing dates moved to the same day monthly. This isn’t something most card users do, but it will save you a lot of stress.
Keep vigilant. Part of any fun vacation is shaking up your normal routine. If you’re travelling to places you haven’t gone before, keep your eyes peeled for scanning devices before you use ATMs. If you’re running around doing different things, a travel purse or money belt and make your life easier, granted that you’ll need to withdraw hard cash for use in locations without POS machines.
Check out the surroundings with an eye toward your financial and personal safety, just as you would at any time.
Necessary questions before leaving. Will your credit card work in your chosen destination? Is it commonly accepted?
More than just asking card-issuer customer service, talk with a travel agent or your hotel, innkeeper or concierge. If using magnetic stripe cards, find out if you can use it, or if the area is principally chip-and-PIN territory. Even if you largely use one card, it helps to take more than one on your trip, mostly from different issuers. Not every card is universally accepted. Also, if one card cuts you off or suspends privileges, you still have a backup.
Take advantage of the card perks. While not all credit cards offer the same benefit, some of them do have multiple other perks that come in handy when travelling, one of this is credit card travel insurance, which offers basic security from most travel mishaps. Some benefits offered by credit cards may include:
- Concierge services
- Discounts on rental cars
- Free or discounted medical travel insurance
- Emergency evacuation insurance
- Free breakfasts or late checkouts at hotels
You can learn more about credit card basics abroad, interest calculations, balance transfer traps, and other general tips on picking the right cards by reading up on resources online. Take note to take everything with a grain of salt – by using what advice or strategy you can and disregarding others that don’t apply in your situation.