using your debit card abroad

How to Travel With Bank Cards

Traveling internationally is exciting but managing currency exchange rates can be frustrating. Do you get cash before or after you’ve arrived at your destination? A simple solution is to travel with a bank card. Using your debit card abroad can cut out some of the hassle of exchanging for paper money. Using a debit card or credit card abroad is simple despite what you may have heard. If you’ve never used a credit card internationally before, there are a few things you should research of such as cards without international fees, travel insurance at no extra charge, and additional benefits. Follow these tips on how to travel with bank cards and credit cards for your next trip and avoid the stress of exchanging currencies and carrying around too much cash.

 

If you already have a credit card or debit card, call your bank to discuss your travel abroad plans. There are two reasons to call your card provider: to avoid having a fraud hold placed on your card and to ask about foreign transaction fees. Ask if your debit or credit card has a foreign transaction fee associated with it and if so, what percentage. While some credit cards and bank cards carry a 3% foreign transaction fee, you may just find out that your card has no fees! Be sure that there are no fees associated with ATM withdrawals either; some cards may claim to be free of foreign transaction fees and then charge a fee when it is used at an ATM. If you find yourself in need of a card with no foreign fees, Capital One and Chase Sapphire are both popular no foreign fee card options.

 

Learning how to travel with bank cards doesn’t stop there, using your debit card abroad comes with some stipulations. You should also look for a card that has a chip and not just the magnetic strip. While most credit and debit cards in the U.S. utilize chips now, they are a requirement in Europe and Asia. It isn’t uncommon for international ATM’s to only accept chipped cards. Another benefit of using a credit or debit card abroad is that you won’t have to worry about figuring out the exchange rate – your card will handle that part for you. You do want to make sure that you are being charged in the local currency when you pay for goods or services though. Some businesses may try to say they are helping you by converting the charge into U.S. dollars but this typically ends up charging you more, so don’t be fooled by this trick!

 

Aside from saving you money and being a less risky form of payment to carry than cash, some cards also include additional benefits like complimentary travel insurance or free airline perks. The travel insurance your card offers may come with some fine print that explains the benefits, so be sure you know exactly what is and is not covered by your travel insurance. Aside from some travel protection, using your debit card abroad may be beneficial to help you book cheap flights, hotel stays, and can help you figure out local hot spots in a new city. Most credit cards offer a concierge service which can be a huge help for anyone new to traveling internationally or those traveling solo. Simply give the concierge service a call to book travel, to help with translations, or to book tickets for a show. This is one perk that is often overlooked and certainly shouldn’t be.

 

It is a good idea to have a little bit of the local currency with you, but you don’t want to carry too much. A travel debit card or credit card is much easier to keep track of during your travels. With additional benefits available, it would be wise to use one on your next trip. While you’re planning your next international trip, make sure you’ve checked to see if your passport is still valid! For assistan obtaining your vital records to update your passport or to have with you during your travels, visit us at VitalChek.com.

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