Packing the Right Plastic for International Travels
Planning a trip abroad? Racking up the card is definitely easier than carrying tons of cash around when traveling. Some of the concerns we may have is the hefty foreign exchange fees that are tacked on or getting jipped by the exchange rate compared with exchanging cash directly. Let’s gear you up with some useful tips to consider for carrying the right plastic!
Things to consider that seems obvious but you’ll probably not pay attention:
1) Deciding between Mastercard/Visa/American Express/Discover
– Your best bet is go with Mastercard or Visa – which are widely accepted. Discover have the lowest foreign exchange rates, but they are not widely accepted outside of states.
2) Choose a card with “Chip and PIN” technology. This has been a long standing standard in Europe and adopted by a lot of countries now. It’s basically an embedded microchip that requires you to use a PIN each time you pay to better protect you — much like debit cards here in the United States.
3) A company with good customer service when you’re abroad makes life that much easier. The last thing you want to stress about or deal with when you lose your card is feeling helpless and frustrated with contacting the credit card company. You want the problem to be fixed ASAP! Some card company cater to international travelers with a slightly higher level of service—offering things like guaranteeing live operators and concierges that can help you figure out local travel or make dinner reservations.
4) Choose a card with NO foreign exchange fee! Yes – there is such a thing, but you know it’s going to come out of somewhere else (like your exchange rate will be slightly lower). Many cards charge foreign change fees of two or three percent. That’s a lot of money if you make a big purchase. It’s recommended to definitely pick a card that does not charge an exchange fee.
UPT top picks after much research and comparison:
-Earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
-Fly free on any airline, any time, with no blackout dates
-For new accounts, earn 10,000 bonus miles
-No annual fee
-No foreign transaction fees
-Requires good to excellent credit(FICO credit score of 700 or higher)
Friendly reminder: Reward cards have a higher interest rate. If you do not pay off your credit card balances in full every single month, don’t bother with a rewards card. It won’t be worthwhile to be in debt with interest for rewards.
Capital One cards are becoming popular with travelers due to the
simple rewards system – the company is living up to their “no hassles” tagline. For example, with these cards you earn rewards at a set rate (either 1.25 miles per $1 or 2 miles per dollar depending on the card). The rewards are quite generous. If you frequently use your card, the extra rewards Capital One provides over other cards can add up. The “No Foreign Currency Fees” is the biggest seller. Capital One international transaction fees are lower than most U.S. credit cards. They are one of the few credit cards that do not charge foreign currency transaction fees. They have pledged to continue this practice even as other issuers raise fees so you’re in good hands.
Named a “best travel rewards credit card” by numerous travel bloggers for a simple reason: The rewards go further.
-No-annual fee card
-No foreign transaction fees
-Pays 2x points on travel and dining
-Pays 1x points on everything else.
-You get 10 percent of your miles back when redeemed for travel, making these miles longer than average.
-No mileage caps
-Earning 20,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 20,000 bonus miles equates to $200 off your next trip!
-0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99% depending upon your creditworthiness.
Before you leave:
1) Don’t forget to call your card company to tell them you’re traveling so they won’t freeze your card for fraud when you make foreign transactions.
2) Backup cards – always have more than one card in case it doesn’t work. I usually bring a Mastercard AND Visa just in case. Some cash never hurts!
Stayed tuned for more UPT Recommendation!
Next Topic: Best Picks for Travel ATM Cards!