Using Your Credit Card When Traveling Abroad

Many individuals travel on a frequent basis, whether for business or pleasure. As a result, it is necessary to bring along credit cards so that they have a means to pay for goods and services while abroad so that they do not have to rely on cash only. However, using a credit card while traveling abroad is not always as easy as it may seem. It is necessary to know how to go about doing so to avoid any nasty surprises that may be encountered.

One of the first things a traveler should be aware of is that while traveling internationally, there are international fees added to any purchases made. In some instances, after credit card processing, these fees can be as high as 10 percent. In general, banks tend to charge people who are traveling a one to three percent fee for foreign currency conversion. This is so that the amount that is being paid can be converted to the US dollar amount that will appear on the individual’s credit card bill. The merchant account itself may add on as much as six percent to cover the conversion difference from the local international cost to the US dollar amount.

It is important that anyone who plans on traveling abroad make sure they understand all of the terms of their credit card. Reading the cardholder agreement or calling or visiting the bank itself to ask about surcharges that should be expected when traveling internationally is important. To that end, it might even be a good idea for the individual to sign up for a different credit card that charges a considerably lower fee or none at all. In exchange, using such a card overseas will result in lower foreign exchange fees or none at all toward purchases.

An individual traveling abroad who plans on using their credit card should also be aware of situations that may arise with their bank. Often, banks will be wary of credit cards being used internationally due to a security issue. It is not unusual that a person traveling abroad receives alerts about fraud. Keeping that in mind, it is important that the person traveling alert their bank before their trip that they will be using their card overseas.

The individual should also bring a second credit card along with them on their travels just in case something should happen to their main card. This ensures that there is still a way to make purchases.

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