Some tips for using your credit card safely overseas

Coles Financial Services 16th Jun 2016 in Credit cards

Congratulations, you've done it. The leave is approved, the bags are packed and the kids can't contain their excitement.

You are travelling overseas for that dream holiday and nothing can bring you down.

But before you hop on that plane, there are a few tips you should read about swiping that credit card on foreign land.

Be careful with your plastic

Thai curry, Rogan Josh – half the fun of travelling is eating international cuisine. But be careful of using plastic in restaurants, these types of places are often where your details might be stolen. So where possible always have your eyes on your card.

Make sure you double check ATMs as well; skimmers exist all over the world. Typical skimmers sit on top of the card acceptance slot. So, give it a wiggle and if it doesn’t look right to you, you might want to look for another ATM.

Send your provider a postcard before you go overseas

Let your credit card provider know you’re travelling overseas so they don’t block your card the minute you buy something on your holiday! Also, they can monitor your spending habits and alert you to any red flags.

Don’t let your digits go stale

Sometimes the most obvious things are the ones we easily forget. Check your expiry date on your card(s). If they expire while you are on holiday, so will your fun - at least for a few days.

Backing up stacks up

Make sure you keep your provider's contact details written down somewhere safe.

If your card(s) are stolen overseas, you’ll want to make sure you have a direct line to your card provider to prevent any unwelcome shopping sprees on your account.

Fees can squeeze your spending

Nothing knocks the gloss off a good holiday like a big, fat bill, so there’s a few fees you need to be aware of.

As we use the Australian dollar, every transaction in another currency has to be converted. Using your Visa or MasterCard overseas will attract an additional charge of approximately 3%, consisting of an overseas transaction fee, as well as a currency conversion fee.

ATM charges are global, so you can expect up to $5 per withdrawal from your debit card. Withdrawing cash from a credit card could see you hit with even more fees, with most providers charging a cash advance fee.

Add these to your purchase rate, and those fees can stack up pretty quickly.

Cash as a backup

It’s a good idea to carry a little bit of cash with you in the local currency. That way, if you stumble on a little market that doesn’t accept plastic, or the corner café only takes notes and coins, you’ll still be able to enjoy every little bit of your holiday.

Tags: finance credit cards overseas travel