Having your plastic handy on holiday in foreign countries is a good idea. They can give you lots of freedom and peace of mind due to many reasons. You will be able not to carry lots of cash with you and therefore avoid robbery. You will have sufficient funds in case of an emergency. Many businesses, for example car rentals or hotels require a credit card to leave a deposit. So having a plastic in your wallet will be convenient and beneficial. However, there some pitfalls you should know about. Taking necessary precautions before you leave will help you ensure trouble-free holidays abroad.
- First of all, contact your credit company and let them know that you are going abroad. Otherwise they can block your account when they see transactions overseas. It is a standard fraud protection these days. Credit card issuers track their customers' spending habits. Any purchase that is untypical of you can cause a temporary card suspension.
- Choose a universal card that will be accepted in most countries. Store cards or plastics bearing little-known brand names may not work overseas. Stick to widely accepted credit brands like Visa or MasterCard.
- Check the expiration dates and credit limits of your credit cards. You will be disappointed in finding out that your plastic has expired or you have maxed out your credit limit while you are on holiday in a foreign country. If you don't think you will have enough credit then you can get your limit extended or take several plastics.
- Some credit card companies add a loading fee to the exchange rate when you make foreign transactions. It can be around 2.75% of any purchase. So read the terms and conditions of your credit agreement very carefully to see what fees you will pay abroad.
- Avoid withdrawing cash from your credit card overseas. Some foreign banks will charge you special fee for this operation. Moreover, you will typically pay higher APR that is accumulated immediately after cash withdrawals.
- It is more beneficial to pay in the local currency when using your card abroad. Usually the option to choose the currency you pay is displayed just before or after entering your PIN.
- Take safety measures to protect your plastic from credit card skimmers or identity thieves. Cover the keypad while entering your PIN. If you suspect that ATM has a camera or false keyboard then do not put your card into the machine or enter PIN.
Don't leave your plastics home if you are going overseas: they come with invaluable safe payment system that is accepted in most countries. Moreover, many companies, for example American Express or Mastercard, offer special insurances for travelers: the automatic flight insurance, the travel accident insurance or the baggage protection. If you have lost your plastic or it was stolen, feel free to contact your credit card issuer and block your account. You will get 24-hour assistance to solve the problems and zero liability for fraudulent use of your plastic. These numerous benefits make credit card an indispensable companion on holidays!