6 things you should know about your credit card before travelling abroad

Published on December 1st, 2020
  Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Travelling aboard either for business, or pure pleasure should be an enjoyable experience. In this case, money does make the world go ‘round when it comes travel. Making sure that your credit card is up to scratch before you leave will make your world go ‘round. We have gathered six things that you need to know in terms of your credit card before you go.

Notify your financial institution

Notifying your financial institution will help prevent a lot of frustrating moments. It is advisable to notify your credit card holder about your dates, and the places you will be travelling to. This is to prevent any illegitimate usage of your card. Failure to do so can lead to your card lenders seeing purchases made in another country, causing them to raise a red flag immediately for suspicious behaviour. This will shut down your card, barring you from accessing your account. Not only will this make it hard to purchase necessities in a foreign country, but it can also make your trip turn sour very quickly.

Run an up to date check list

Have a quick run-down to see that all is in order when it comes to your credit card. Check for things such as the expiry date. If it is going to expire while you are still overseas, apply early for a new one. Some countries like the USA have added a security feature that might require a ZIP code, after you have entered your pin in a ATM. Ensure that you have loaded a new pin by entering your Australian postal code and then adding a zero at the end.

Know the currency conversion charges

When travelling to a foreign country there will be currency conversion fees. These are usually charged at 2% or 3% when making a transaction. Speaking to a financial credit advisor will assist you in finding, and comparing a credit card that will match your desired needs. This can also benefit you in finding the best deals on a credit card that waives a foreign transaction fee. Investing in credit cards that have frequent flyer points can also help you cut down in traveling costs, which will make you a happy flyer. Frequent Flyer points are usually one cent a point, which could be viewed as insignificant. However, the more frequent flyer points you have can make a huge difference. For example, if you have 100,00 points you can get $1000 and 50,000 points will get you $500.

Know which card is suited for you

There are plenty of credit cards to choose from such as; Prepaid Travel Cards, Travel Debit cards, and Travel credit cards. The benefits are also endless, but the question is which one shall you choose? If you are looking for something beyond a credit card that can help you stick to budget, because you will be spending your own money, then a debit card could be your next go to. Debit cards can be your safest bet, especially if you only travel from time to time. It also gives you easy access to your funds while travelling, limiting interest on transactions. A Visa or Mastercard is globally acceptable making it less of a hassle to pay abroad.

Being ATM savvy while abroad

Knowing which ATM will accept your card will make accessing your funds a less stressful experience. The rule of thumb is to look for ATMs that display the similar logo that your card has. If you have a Visa credit/debit card with a plus or visa logo, look for ATMs that have the Plus or Visa logo displayed. For Mastercard’s with the Maestro or Cirrus logo look for ATMs that display a similar logo. When you have finally found an ATM select the cheque or savings option. If this is not available go for the ‘Fastcash’ account. Be aware of which currency is being displayed when viewing your balance on screen.

Always speak to your financial institution that has issued out the credit card to avoid any confusion or additional charges that you were not aware of. Once you have all of this under wraps you can get away for your long- awaited trip.

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