Get the most out of your credit card overseas

Laine Gordon

Laine Gordon

Are you planning your next holiday? RateCity looks at how your credit card can save you money while travelling abroad.

May 20, 2010

Do you find yourself thinking about where you would like to go, when the best time to travel is, how much money should you take, how long should you go for, who you should take with you? There are a mileage of questions and so many choices when it comes to travelling, but at least one thing is for certain and that is the convenience that travelling with a credit card offers.

Credit cards are a convenient and popular option for most while travelling abroad and can provide the following benefits:

  • They provide an additional financial source if cash funds run low.
  • You reduce your need to carry cash around, which increases your safety.
  • There is no need to buy traveller’s cheques or worry about cashing them, or paying fees to cash them in.
  • You can track spending with itemised statements.

Most financial institutions now have fraud teams that focus on and track unusual spending habits. They will contact you immediately if they come across a strange transaction. If there is a fraudulent claim, they will more than likely reimburse your money

Travelling around seeing the sites and eating the local delicacies costs money, but even though you will be spending money, it is still possible to save when using your credit card.

Here are some tips on how to save money with your credit card as well as how to ensure you have all bases covered when using your card overseas.

  • Before you leave, take some time to compare credit cards online to find the best card for your travelling needs. Look for a credit card that offers the lowest rate and no or minimal fees. Also check that it can be used abroad.
  • Some credit card providers charge a foreign transaction fee for international purchases or cash withdrawals. Check with your provider before you leave so you are aware of what fees they charge and how to avoid them.
  • Check what exchange rate your financial institution currently offers. Shop around to see if it is consistent with other lenders. If it is quite low possibly apply for another credit card through another institution.
  • Before leaving, notify your credit card company on your travel plans. They will place a note on your file indicating your details in the instance of it being stolen or involved in fraud.
  • Make a copy of all your credit card numbers along with the phone numbers to call if your cards should become lost or stolen. Keep these details separate to your cards.
  • It is wise to carry more than one credit card with you, just in case something goes wrong with one of them or if you were to lose it. It is good to have a back-up plan.
  • Most credit cards now offer a PIN (personal identification number) in addition to signing goods and services. Using a PIN number will reduce your instances of fraud.
  • Cover your PIN when entering into a PIN pad either at an ATM or an EFTPOS machine, so that would-be criminals cannot see.



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