31 Mar, 2017
Savvy Tips

Essential advice when using your credit card abroad

Credit cards offer a number of benefits. One of which being the ability to make purchases when you're on holiday in a foreign country. Instead of carrying cash or traveler's checks, your credit card can cover all of your vacation expenses. When using your card abroad, however, it's important to remember these essential tips.

Contact your providers

Whether you are taking one or more credit cards along on holiday, you need to contact the provider for each card and inform them of your travel plans. In fact, allow for a few extra days just in case your trip home is delayed for whatever reason. If you fail to do so, they could place a block on your card as soon as they notice any foreign purchases. The PIN on any of your cards should also only be four digits long. Many foreign card machines only allow for four digits to be entered which means that any longer PINs cannot be entered and your transactions won't go through. As soon as you return, make sure that you contact your providers again and let them know that you are back in the country. This will help protect you from any fraudulent activity after you return home. 

Keep card information on hand

As much as we don't want to think about it, there is always the chance of your card getting lost or stolen during any trip. Before you depart on your trip, you should make sure that you have a copy of all your credit card company's details and your card details. If your card is lost or stolen, call your card company immediately and report the problem so that they can block your card and prevent anyone from using it. 

Make the most of the benefits

Many credit cards offer various benefits and advantages whenever you use them to make certain purchases. These benefits and the terms thereof are all stipulated in the conditions of the agreement. You can build up points or even get cash back when swiping your card. You can even benefit from travel insurance, rental car insurance, and more! Check with your provider regarding benefits before deciding how to pay for your trip.

Spend responsibly abroad

When swiping your card in another country, your provider might add as much as 3% onto your charges. This is due to the currency exchange and, even though it might not sound like that much, it can add up over the days or weeks you spend away from home. If you want to avoid these kinds of charges, shop around for a card that offers no foreign exchange fee. This is particularly advantageous for those who travel abroad regularly. Remember, when using these cards, you should always select the option that charges your card in the local currency. If you choose to be charged in your home currency, you will most likely end up paying more. This is because your home currency rate is set by the merchant and it is known as a dynamic currency conversion. Such conversions are always more expensive than those offered by banks. 

Remember, apart from card security and keeping track of your transactions, you should also make sure that the credit cards you use abroad will offer the best benefits. If you're shopping around for the best credit card to suit your needs, take a look at our detailed information on Canada's top credit cards at Wallet Savvy.

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