If you are going abroad, then using a credit card can be the safest and most effective way of carrying currency. But what steps should you take to make sure your card is the best one to use abroad? Here is some advice about how to effectively use your credit cards whilst abroad:
Pick a universal card
If you are travelling overseas, then try and pick a card that you know will work in most countries. Taking store cards or lesser known cards can defeat the point of bringing your card with you. Stick to widely accepted credit types like Visa and MasterCard.
Ask about fees
Before you go away, ask your card issuer what the fees are for using your card abroad. If you have more than one card, then take the one with the best rates for withdrawing money and making transactions. Although you get better exchange rates with your card, this is useless if you are charged high fees for taking out foreign currency by your card issuer.
Carry card issuer numbers
Make sure that you have a number that you can call your card issuer on should anything go wrong. The normal number you call is unlikely to work, so before you go you should get their number for international calls. Ask your card issuer about arrangements should your card be lost or stolen.
Notify your issuer
If you are going somewhere that is out of your regular routine, then it is a good idea to notify your card issuer that you are going away. If your card company sees your card being used in strange places, they might suspend your account. Although you can sort this out quickly, it saves you worries and trouble if you just let them know before you go away that you will be using your card abroad.
Check your dates
Before you go abroad, check the expiration dates and credit limits of your cards. You donít want to be on holiday and not be able to enjoy yourself because your card has expired or you have run out of credit. If you donít think you will have enough credit then you could get your limit extended or take a couple of cards.
Keep all receipts
The most important thing to do when abroad is to keep all your receipts. If you are overcharged for anything then you want to be able to prove this, and if you keep all of your receipts you can track exactly what and how much you have spent.
Credit is safest
Although you might think that taking an ATM card is the best idea, credit cards are much safer as they have added security measures such as purchase protection. Most of the time you can use your credit card in an ATM if you need to, but you should try and charge it as much as possible as this will save you money. If you can be disciplined with your record keeping and plan in advance, then taking your credit card abroad will make your spending safer and hassle free.
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Peter Kenny is a writer for creditcards-gb.co.uk.
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