6 Things to Keep in Mind When Using Your Credit Card Abroad
Credit Cards are one of the most popular financial products in the modern times and enjoy the confidence of many customers. They enable you to make purchase both online as well as offline. They offer you the flexibility to make a purchase instantly and repay the amount later.
Many Credit Cards also offer a Zero interest period, wherein if you repay the whole amount during that period you need not pay any interest. Various benefits provided by cards have made them a really sought after financial product.
Why are Credit Cards popular with international travellers?
One of the most versatile features of Credit Cards is their ability to offer you the option to make payment in foreign currency also, which your standard debit card does not allow. That is why most of us prefer taking our Credit Card along on an international trip.
Although using a regular Credit Card for making transactions abroad could be a little expensive than getting a special forex Credit Card or a prepaid Forex card,but sometimes you are so busy with planning for the trip, that you do not have time to get the other cards and simply grab your “good-old” Credit Card.
Caution to be taken
When you are in a foreign country and are tempted to draw out your Credit Card to pay for even the smallest bills just to look cool, then hold your horses! You must beware of using your Credit Card for the following transactions when you are traveling abroad:
1. Cash Withdrawals at an ATM: When you use your Credit Card to withdraw cash in a foreign country, it will create a lot of headache for you. Firstly, you need to find an ATM that supports your card. You will be paying cash withdrawal charges along with International ATM Fees every time you make a withdrawal.
So, rather than making plenty of small withdrawals, you should make one significant withdrawal to avoid the multiple instances of International ATM charges. Also, while using the ATM, make sure you are using an ATM in a busy place, ATM’s located at isolated locations could be rigged with skimming devices.
2. Super Markets or Restaurants: You mightbe tempted to use your Credit Card for making even the smallest purchases just to avoid the hassle of handling forex, but you must remember that every time you swipe your card you incur significant costs in the form of transaction charges and foreign exchange conversion charges.
So, you should avoid using your card for every small transaction or purchase. Just try to pay in cash as much as you can for these minor transactions and save your Credit Card for handling all significanttransactions. When you use your card at a restaurant, there is a blank space for writing tip amounts, be sure to cancel out this space otherwise some dishonest waiter may fill exorbitant tip here without you even knowing.
3. Transactions Over Wi-Fi: PublicWi-Fi networks are not secure, and it is easy for anyone to hack into your phone and extract your banking details.
So, avoid doing any financial transactions or change your banking passwords,etc. over a public wi-fi network. You can use your mobile data connection or the secured wi-fi connection provided by your hotel to do any transactions that you must do.
4. Buying Foreign Exchange: When you try to purchase foreign exchange from the dealers through your Credit Card, there are multiple charges that you must pay significant transaction charges or convenience charges.
So, you should try to avoid buying foreign exchange using your card and instead purchase foreign exchange from your nearby bank branch or use a prepaid forex card to save a significant amount of money.
5. Emergency Call from Bank: Sometimes during odd hours you might receive a call from someone claiming to be from your hotel and would ask you to confirm your card details. Beware of such impostors and never reveal your card details over the phone to anyone. You could also receive a call from anyone claiming to be from your bank and would ask you to change your pin immediately. Do not fall into such trap and never respond to such calls.
6. At Telephone Booths: Sometimes you might have to make an emergency call back home, but your mobile signal may desert you. In such situations you can use a public phone and by using appropriate extensions can make an international call also but be sure to not use your credit card to make payment for your calls because it would be very costly to use your Credit Card for such small transactions and also there could be some skimming devices installed there.
If you are a frequent international traveler then you should Get an International Credit Card that has significantly lower transaction charges or instead gets a prepaid forex card to make sure that your trip does not end up being a financial disaster for you.
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