Tips on Using Credit Cards Abroad

 

Here are some useful tips on using credit cards abroad that will help you use your credit card wisely and “economically” the next time you decide to swipe it for all your traveling and shopping expenses abroad:

  • Contact your credit card issuing bank and inquire about the bank’s current currency conversion fee (they change often), Visa or MasterCard charges and whether transactions will be in foreign currency or dynamic currency conversion (DCC) dollars. In dynamic currency conversion system that is increasingly being offered abroad, while you may feel ” more at home with US dollars”, you will be paying more that what you should, in the local currency, for example, Euro. Just be careful about what you choose.
  • Negotiate with your bank. Valued customers get better deals.
  • Look for a bank that values you more. You can browse through www.consumer-action.org and www.bankrate.com for comparison of debit, credit cards and ATM fees charged by the major issuing banks and make your choice.
  • If you’re going to make your payments in local currency, specify this to the man at the counter before handing him over your credit card.
  • If the clerk does not (or does not know how to) override the DCC system, speak to the owner or manager request for voiding the charge and rerunning in local currency.
  • Run a comparison of paying in cash with your regular ATM card, weighing potential savings and benefits.
  • On your return, check your bill. Consider disputing the charge if you have been unfairly treated in a DCC transaction.