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5 quick tips for using your credit card abroad

Planning to use your credit card in another country?

Whether you’re travelling for work or just for fun, it’s important to use your credit card wisely. If not, you could be subject to unwanted charges and international credit card fees.

Read on for 5 quick tips on how to use your credit card abroad.

1. Inform your credit card issuer before you go

Make sure to let your credit card provider know about your travel plans before you go. This way, they’ll be better prepared at dealing with any unusual activity on your account. 

Some providers now use special fraud technology to detect when cardholders are travelling. Before you leave on your travels, check whether you need to inform them of your plans. It’s also a good idea to collect their contact phone number in case you need assistance overseas.

2. Get a travel credit card

While it may be tempting to take and use your trusty credit card, you could save a fortune by applying for a new one altogether. 

Some credit card issuers charge high fees for overseas purchases so it’s worth shopping around to find one designed for foreign travel. Look out for cards with competitive exchange rates and ones that don’t charge a fortune for transactions and cash withdrawals. 

3. Pay in the local currency

If you’ve ever made a transaction abroad, you’ll have likely seen the option to pay in the local currency.

Always do this.

When you pay in the local currency, you’ll get the best conversion rate. This is because your credit card issuer will do the conversion at a rate that’s set and updated daily and linked with the interbank rate. If you don’t pay in the local currency, the vendor (so the shop, bar or restaurant) will set their own exchange rate and fees can be as high as 7%!

4. Memorise your pin

You’ll most likely be asked for your pin number whenever you make a transaction abroad. For ease, memorise your pin before you go. It’ll save you a lot of time and hassle whenever you need to use your credit card.

Some merchants may even request proper identification to ensure that you’re authorised to use the credit card. A passport or driving license is usually fine. 

5. Always carry cash

While there are many benefits to using your credit card abroad—the convenience, the speed etc.—it’s always worth carrying some cash around with you too.

Cash is still a very popular payment method in Europe and other countries. In fact, some merchants are cash only. And if you lose your card, or it becomes unusable, cash could be your lifesaver. To be on the safe side, store your cards separate from your cash in case your wallet is ever stolen. 

And on that note, safe travels! We hope you have a great time abroad.


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