If you’re planning on going abroad with your credit card, you might run into issues unless you’re properly prepared. But what kind of preparation will you need to take with a credit card?
MaxCash’s credit card experts are here to help you discover the best way to travel and use your credit card.
The Location Block on Your Credit Card
One of the more common issues that can pop up as a result of credit card use is identity theft. You’re probably familiar with the concept: someone else using your credit card as though it were their own to make fraudulent purchases. It’s an unfortunate possibility that credit card users will have to be prepared for. But how does it relate to travel?
See, identity theft of credit cards is so common that there are automatic procedures built into most varieties of credit cards. The most common of these procedures is the location restriction system.
Credit card providers generally keep an eye on the general area within which you normally use your credit card. If your card suddenly gets used in a transaction that occurs halfway across the world, they’ll see that as suspicious and temporarily lock your credit card account.
The reason for this is because credit card identity theft can happen so easily. Just by obtaining the information listed on your card, many thieves can use it online without repercussion. So, if you normally use your credit card in the area around your house, then a sudden charge in Britain will shut it down.
So how do you deal with this issue if you’re planning on using your card out of the country? It’s simple! All you need to do is contact your credit card provider and let them know where you intend to travel to. So long as they’re aware of your trip, your card will work like normal.
Try Out Specialized Credit Cards
If you’re going to be traveling a lot, you might want to start looking into different types of specialized credit cards. These specialized credit cards come with your heavy-travel life already in mind, and you won’t have to deal with any issues using your credit card abroad. It’s already pre-approved for your travel locations and won’t end up getting blocked.
Most of these kinds of credit cards even come with special bonuses too. These bonuses can take all types of different forms.
Here are just some bonuses you can get with a specialized travel credit card:
- Concierge Services – Some cards come with access to different kinds of concierge services. They can help you book flights, make hotel reservations, and more.
- Various Discounts – Depending on your card, you could end up receiving discounts on food, flights, rental cars, and everything in between.
- Hotel Benefits – Your cards can end up netting you quite a few bonuses at the hotels you end up staying at. This could mean things like free meals, easier check-ins, and discounts on hotel services.
- Travel Insurance – If you get a card with travel insurance and end up having to cancel your travel plans for any reason, your card will cover it. There’s a set amount up to which it will cover though, so it’s not the perfect solution, but it’s a great way to recoup. Should you have an unexpected incident, this can keep the disaster from worsening.
- Emergency Services – Some varieties of card have access to emergency assistance services. Should you end up with some kind of medical emergency abroad and end up having no idea how to respond, you can call their services. They’ll help you find assistance and handle any and all related costs.
- Special Access Passes – Depending on your credit card, you might get access to special events and locations. Some cards can come with museum passes, or priority purchases for event tickets or concerts.
Other Assorted Tips
Now that you know how to ensure you can use your card, as well as some of the bonuses you can get as a result of your card’s special features, it’s time for some extraneous tips. These next few bullets are extra bits to help you make the most of your credit card abroad.
- Change Your Due Dates – A general credit card usage tip is to change your payment due date. This is something that many people might not be aware you can do with your credit cards. And doing so is simple.
- All it takes is a simple call to your providers and your due date can be moved to a date of your choosing. If you’re going to be gone when your bill would normally be due, rescheduling it until your return can ease your stress on vacation and let you enjoy it more.
- Keep Cash on Hand – Not all countries abroad accept credit, with some countries having wider support than others. As a result, you might end up wanting to use a debit card to make an ATM withdrawal. But if you’re not prepared, you might end up costing yourself in the long run.
- Some places you end up traveling to might not have the companies in charge of their ATMs. You’ll still be able to withdraw your funds from it, but you could incur a large fee as a result. To avoid this, make sure your debit card doesn’t have these associated fees or make sure to keep plenty of cash on hand.
- Be Aware of Conversion Rates – It’s always important to keep in mind the conversion rates in the area you’re traveling to. Some are vastly different than the American dollar, and if you’re not careful, you could end up getting swindled. Less-than-savory merchants may look for an inexperienced tourist to charge insane amounts.
- For example, 20 pounds might sound cheap, but after conversion, it’d be $26 USD. On the other hand, 2,000 Yen might sound ridiculous for a meal, but it converts down to a much more reasonable $13 USD.
In the end, the best way to travel with a credit card is to do some research beforehand. Make sure your lender is aware of travel plans, take advantage of any benefits your card provides you, and know any additional requirements for where you’re headed.
Want to learn more? Get in contact with MaxCash for even more tips and tricks!