What to Know About Using Credit Cards Abroad

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Traveling abroad can be both exciting and stressful. One thing you don’t want to worry about during your adventures is access to money. Although you’ll need to bring some cash, one of the most convenient ways to shop abroad is to use a credit card, ideally one that offers travel rewards.


Credit cards are generally safe and easy to carry with you as you hop in and out of cars or trains, explore a new city on foot or enjoy a new restaurant.

In addition, credit cards offer fraud protection in case your card is lost or stolen. To make the most of your next international travel experience, there are several things you need to know about using your credit card abroad. This article will cover the following topics:

  • Why you should tell your credit card issuer that you are traveling
  • How to avoid credit cards with foreign transaction fees.
  • Learn about dynamic currency conversion and how to avoid it.
  • The four major credit card networks.
  • Why it’s important to know your card’s travel security.
  • How to use your credit card to access airport lounges.

Notify your credit card issuer that you will be traveling

Credit card issuers have safeguards in place to detect fraud. Sometimes, red flags will pop up if they see activity on your card thousands of miles from home or in a country you’ve never been to before. They may either temporarily freeze your account or contact you to confirm the unusual activity is yours.


This is an effort to protect you. So if you’re out to dinner in Dallas on Friday, then buying drinks in Dubai on Sunday, there’s a good chance that your card will be flagged for potential fraud.

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To avoid this, set up a travel notification with your credit card issuer. Simply go online or call the customer support number on the back of your card and fill in your travel details.

It’s also a good idea to download your card’s mobile app before you go. Not only does this make it easier to contact the card issuer when needed, but it can also help you track your purchases in a setting where your normal spending habits are completely different.

Use a card with no foreign transaction fee

When you are traveling in a foreign country, purchases made with your credit card may incur foreign transaction fees. A foreign transaction fee is an additional fee from your credit card issuer equal to a percentage of each transaction you make overseas. Credit cards with foreign transaction fees typically charge an additional 3% to 5% for each foreign purchase.

However, there are some credit cards that There is no foreign transaction fee, Some of them are also travel rewards cards. In this case, you’ll still get points for purchases you were planning on making during your trip anyway, such as flights, hotel stays and meals.

avoid dynamic currency conversion

Dynamic currency conversion is a credit card feature that allows you to make purchases in a foreign country using your home country’s currency. The advantage of this feature is that it helps you understand the price you are paying without the need to convert.

However, this facility also allows for an increased exchange rate and other additional fees to be charged by the merchant, ultimately making the transaction more expensive. If you choose to pay with the local currency, your bank will handle the conversion and will likely offer you a better rate. So if you’re asked whether you want to use USD or the local currency at the time of purchase, choose the local currency.

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Confirm that your destination accepts your credit card

Make sure your credit card type is accepted in your destination city or country. Your Card The U.S. operates through the four main payment networks: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. However, not all merchants around the world accept these four networks.

Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted all over the world. If a business accepts credit cards, your Visa or MasterCard will probably do just fine. The other two — American Express and Discover — have global footprints, but are accepted by far fewer merchants. If you have one of these cards, make sure you use it on your trip. Or, bring a backup card that is either a Visa or MasterCard.

Know the travel security of your card

Many credit cards offer a variety of travel protections that you may not realize you have access to. By using your credit card only for travel purchases, you may be eligible for valuable coverage.

This includes travel insurance services such as:

  • trip cancellation
  • travel interruption or delay
  • car rental loss and damage

You may also be able to get services to compensate for travel-related inconveniences. things like:

  • travel delay compensation
  • Baggage reimbursement if your bag is delayed, lost or damaged
  • travel emergency assistance

Be sure to learn about all the protections on your card in case you need to take advantage of them.

Use your card to access airport lounges

Another advantage you should take advantage of is access to some airport lounges. Some travel rewards cards include complimentary access called Select Priority Pass Network, which is different than the loyalty airline clubs you might be thinking of. You do not need to belong to a certain airline’s loyalty program to gain access to Priority Pass lounges. all you need is A credit card that offers this perk,

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There are over 1,300 Priority Pass lounges around the world and can serve as great places to relax in between long international flights or while waiting to board your adventure. Many lounges offer spacious areas to relax, complimentary food and drinks, workstations, and some even offer preflight spa treatments.


Unlike cash, credit cards offer many relevant benefits and protections for traveling abroad. Knowing these features before you leave can empower you to take decisive action in the event of a delay or emergency. Plus, choosing a card that gives you travel rewards and no foreign transaction fees means you’re maximizing the value of every dollar (or yen or euro or peso) you spend on your travels!


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