Guest post by Jenna Lee Smith
Travel is one of life’s great pleasures for most people. However, it can be expensive so you need to make sure that you can always pay for whatever activity you are doing. While it is always important to carry cash with you, using a credit card as your primary payment method can make your overseas travel much easier. Here are some of the ways:
With a credit card, there is no need to convert currency. You will also get one of the lowest conversion rates available automatically. A credit card is also much safer to carry in an unfamiliar environment. You will no longer need to be paranoid about pick pockets. Credit cards can be concealed much easier than a roll of cash. If your card does get stolen, you will not lose any money.
It would be wise to check your card agreements before you leave to see if they contain any overseas fees. 55% of credit union cards and 92% of bank cards have fees for transactions made abroad. The fees usually go from 2-3% for each purchase. Obviously, this can add a significant expense to your already costly vacation. If your card contains overseas fees, apply for no foreign transaction fee credit cards. You can also get a debit card that does not charge a fee for foreign ATM withdrawals.
Once you have confirmed your travel plans, contact your card issuer and make them aware of exactly where you will be traveling. They will then make note of this so your cards do not get shut off because of suspicious activity. Your card issuer will also tell you how you can contact them for free if you have an emergency.
Many foreign merchants try to rip off Americans when quoting a price for an item in U.S. dollars. They often use an uncompetitive exchange rate to make the conversion. Avoid this by refusing to sign any receipt that is not specifically stated in the local currency. It would be advisable to brush up on the local conversion rates before your trip. You can also get a conversion rate App for your smart phone. Be sure to do your due diligence and peruse credit card reviews 2012 in order to understand the financial import of your decisions.
Credit cards in Europe are much more advanced than U.S. credit cards for fraud prevention. U.S. cards use the magnetic stripe system that is not trusted in many other parts of the world. Therefore, it is important to carry your passport with you at all times. Many merchants in foreign countries will refuse your card unless you have proper identification.
You should not need to worry about dealing with foreign currency or conversion rates while on your vacation. Get your ducks in a row and cards in order before your trip so your focus can be on enjoying yourself.
About the Author: Jenna Smith is a freelance writer who normally writes on topics like personal finance and business. Jenna’s normal posts include topics like writing credit card reviews 2012, but she also enjoys tying her personal finance knowledge to other topics like travel and home improvement. You can read more finance writing by Jenna at paidtwice.com.