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What To Watch Out For When Using Your Credit Card Overseas

Adhil Shetty


Are you planning that long overdue family vacation to LA, a getaway for two to Hawaii, or a trip to Taiwan to finalise a deal? Whatever your reason for international travel may be, your handy credit card is probably the essential you think of first often when travelling is on the charts. From using it to pay for a luxury hotel to unparalleled dining experiences, this form of plastic money is convenient and undoubtedly boosts your purchasing power.

While the perks of using a credit card internationally are aplenty, it is only prudent that you understand the charges that come along with the convenience. There’s a difference between using a credit card in India and one overseas, and knowing the special terms and conditions applicable on the latter will help you spend smartly. Here is everything you need to know in a nutshell.

Not All Credit Cards Are Accepted Abroad

While your credit card may be easily accepted by most merchants in India, the same may not be the case once you land in a foreign country. In addition to your cards, you should also have some cash handy to easily pay for purchases at stores that do not accept credit cards.

International Transactions Come With Charges

When you swipe your card internationally, you have to pay a few extra charges as well. Knowing what they are will help you eliminate the possibility of an unsavoury surprise. The three main types of charges are Foreign Currency Conversion Fee, Foreign Transaction Charge, and Cash Advance Fee. Foreign Currency Conversion Fee involves charging you a fee of approximately 1–2% to convert your card balance in Indian rupees to the concerned currency. A Foreign Transaction Charge is 2.5–3.5% of the transaction amount and is charged by your credit card issuer. Further, you have to pay a cash withdrawal fee of nearly 1–4% in addition to the standard fee you pay every time you withdraw money using your credit card.

It’s Best To Inform Your Bank About Your Overseas Travel

Firstly, ensure that international transactions have been enabled on your credit card, so you are able to use it internationally. If you are concerned about security, you can disable international transactions again once you are back from your trip by giving your card issuer the necessary instructions. However, remember that once you do so you will not be able to use your card on an international websites as well. Further, when you inform your bank or credit card issuer about your overseas travel they are less likely to put any transactions on hold out of suspicion of fraudulent activity.

It Is Advisable To Have Your Card’s Customer Service Number Handy

Your credit card issuer has a dedicated customer service number that can come to your aid in an instance where you misplace your credit card in a foreign country. This way you can block your credit card or report any fraudulent activity immediately. Keep these numbers and contact details handy at all times. Remember, reporting fraudulent activity within three days reduces the chances of any fees you may be liable to pay because of the same.

By tucking these guidelines away at the back of your mind you can ensure that using your credit card internationally is a hassle-free, pleasant experience.

The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.

BankBazaar.com is a leading online marketplace in India that helps consumers compare and apply for credit card, personal loan, home loan, car loan, and insurance.