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How do you protect your credit card overseas?


Laine Gordon

By Laine Gordon

4 min read

Australians love to travel. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, our overall number of international border crossings reached 33.9 million in the year to June 2015. Only 10 years earlier, this figure was a mere 20.7 million. We now have at least 1.4 international border crossings per person every year.

With so much activity, it's important that Australians keep their money safe at all times. The Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) notes that between July 2010 and 2012 alone, card fraud domestically and overseas cost people $262 million. Getting the right protection for your card when heading overseas is a must. 

Take out the right insurance

If you are taking out a credit card for overseas spending, travel insurance could be a prudent option. The cost of this is regularly included in the fees you pay on a credit card, and can offer cover in a variety of situations. This can include card replacement fees, as well as the cost of fraudulent transactions made on your card. 

This insurance can be labelled as free, but could form part of regular fees. It is well worth using a credit card comparison tool to determine how much you pay for insurance, what kind of protection is on offer, as well as the cards that offer some of the top deals for overseas spending

Work out your liability

In the event that your credit card is stolen or fraudulently used overseas, it is important to know what you are liable for. In most cases you will be covered for all such expenditure, but there are some times that you may be liable.

This includes if you disclosed your PIN number to others, or waited for an unreasonable amount of time before alerting the relevant authorities about the card theft, transaction or disclosure of your PIN. 

Be careful with ATMs

While many credit cards will be usable at a wide range of ATMs across the globe, this doesn't mean that every machine will work with your card, or even be legitimate. It's important to look at the list of lenders and ATMs that your credit card will function with. Don't forget to check the credit card fees for cash withdrawals as well. 

If you accidentally leave your credit card inside an ATM, you may still be liable for any fraudulent transactions that occur. Keep a sharp eye on where your card is at all times. 

Have a backup

The Australian Crime Commission notes that between July 2010 and July 2012, it wasn't just the value of card fraud that went up, the volume of transactions increased by 26 percent during this period as well. Losing a credit card is one way this can happen, and it can be difficult to get a replacement on short notice while overseas.

This is where a backup card can be useful. Many credit cards have the option to take out a second card joined to the same account, although there may be fees attached. This is something to consider if travelling overseas. 

Shop smart

Just as there is a set of ATMs that a credit card may be compatible with, there are certain stores that welcome particular credit cards. If you have eschewed the savings account in favour of a credit card for your overseas travel, looking at the retailers from which you can obtain credit card rewards may be a starting point for picking safe spaces in which to shop.

Credit card skimming, PIN acquisition, account takeover, phishing and theft are all dangerous elements to be aware of when travelling. Use our credit card comparison tool to determine what kind of protection you can acquire for your card, and be mindful of the risks when travelling. 

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