Best Travel Credit Cards and Other Traveling Tips

Travel credit card and other documentationAre you planning a trip to a foreign country sometime in the near future? Make sure you know the the ins and outs of buying and spending while abroad. Many travelers head overseas and find that accessing financial services isn’t as easy as back home. There are many roadblocks put in front of foreigners who are trying to access financial services. There are security measures in place to protect against fraud, while other times there simply isn’t any compatibility between the two nation’s financial systems.

Before you travel, the very first thing you should do is contact your credit card and banking companies. Ask them what countries your cards are compatible in and if there are any associated fees. Many companies offer certain packages and protections for those traveling abroad. Even if you don’t plan on using a certain credit card, you should still let that company know when and where you’re traveling so they can set a travel notice on your account. You’re far less likely to have your purchase declined or your card blocked while traveling if you let your company know your plans ahead of time.

Beware of the excessive fees you’ll incur while using your cards abroad. When using a foreign ATM, you’ll likely be charged a fee by the foreign bank who runs that ATM. There are usually foreign transaction fees on most purchases charged by your own company. This means you’ll be charged a small percentage (usually between 1 percent and 3 percent) on the total cost of your purchase. Additionally, banks and credit card companies almost never offer the current market rate on foreign currency exchange rates. You’ll lose money on each purchase both through fees and unideal foreign exchange rates. Because of this, it’s usually not a good idea to convert your money into a foreign currency at the airport. Instead, find a currency exchange or a bank before you arrive at the airport. You’ll find much better foreign exchange rates there.

When traveling, you’ll almost always end up using cash. But if you have the chance, you should also attempt to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. These cards do in fact exist, but there are a few things you should know beforehand. These cards are harder to obtain for the average consumer. You’ll need at least a good credit score to be approved. These cards also tend to have higher annual fees, but that’s on a case by case basis. The main advantage of these cards is the lack of fees when making purchases in a foreign currency. Instead of being charged an extra 1 percent to 3 percent, your credit card company will only charge you the amount in dollars after the purchase amount has been convert from the foreign currency. However, understand that you will not receive the best foreign exchange rate possible.

Due to the convenience and benefits of credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, you should absolutely use one while traveling abroad. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is considered among the best, if not the best, no foreign transaction fee credit card. This card offers some of the best rewards points redeemable for airfare, with up to 20 percent off when redeemed through Chase. The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a close runner up. This card has a healthy rewards program, with 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases and no expiration date on points, making it one of the best jack of all trades cards. For those with less than excellent credit, the Capital One Venture card is a good alternative. The rewards points program on this card is comparable to the cards offered by Chase and Bank of America. However, the points go slightly less far when redeeming rewards compared to the other two.

Posted on June 3, 2016 by in Credit Cards

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