Credit Cards are designed to make spending easy—especially when you’re travelling. You are not only saved from the hassle of currency conversion when travelling abroad, but you also don’t have to worry about losing actual money if your wallet is stolen or lost. However, there are certain things you must keep in mind while travelling abroad as a few mistakes can easily turn your magical vacation into a catastrophe of unforeseen expenses.
Forgetting To Inform Your Card Company
Credit card companies will block a card or cancel a transaction at the slightest hint of suspicious activity. So, if you ignore to inform them of your travel plans in advance, you might find your payments being declined and your card rendered unusable for the rest of the trip. Call your issuer before you set off on your journey, and make sure you inform them of any layovers you have planned as well. Even a simple cup of airport coffee could send up a red flag that derails the rest of your trip.
Not Making Note Of The Helpline Number
In the event that your wallet is misplaced or stolen, you will need to get the card blocked as soon as possible. The helpline number is usually printed on the back of the card—but this of course will be of no use to you if you’ve lost it. Make sure you have all the right numbers handy, specifically the toll-free, 24-hour ones, so that you can report the loss or theft as soon as possible and avoid fraudulent charges.
Overlooking The Foreign-Fee
Some credit card companies charge a fee for every purchase made abroad, so make sure you check the fee policy with your own company well in advance. Some fees can go up to 3.5% of the transaction charge, which can add up to quite a sum by the end of the trip. If your company does charge a fee, it might be worth it to get a new credit card with a no-fee policy.
Opting To Dynamic Currency Conversion
When making a transaction, some retailers may offer to convert the payable amount to your own currency rather than the local one. This Dynamic Currency Conversion may seem like a good way to account for your expenses while abroad, but you should know that the rates offered are often non-competitive, and could end up costing you more in the long run.
Using Your Card At An ATM
Credit cards charge a cash advance fee, which is sometimes as high as 4% for ATM withdrawals. This is in addition to the fee that most ATMs charge on transactions made with cards from other banks. To avoid unnecessary fees, avoid withdrawing cash using a credit card frequently. If you really require cash, only withdraw using your debit card.
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.