Why should I contact my credit card companies before I leave?

  • You want to notify them of your trip. They may delay you if they are unaware you are traveling. The unfamiliar spending patterns might cause them to suspect that the card is being used fraudulently and delay your approvals.

  • They will be able to explain many of the services that they can provide while you are on your trip.

How can my credit card company help prepare me for my trip?

  • You can arrange to pay bills that will come due while you are gone.

  • They will be aware that you will be making charges from another country.

  • They will be able to give you an idea of how acceptable their credit card is in that particular country.

  • They can verify acceptance at certain foreign locations.

  • They’ll be able to see if your PIN number will work in the countries you are visiting. They can also issue you another PIN number if your current PIN is unacceptable to the foreign bank’s system.

  • They can explain cash advance, ATM, foreign purchase and foreign exchange rate policies and fees.

  • They can explain any services they offer, such as, extra insurance for your rental car, luggage or purchases. Make sure the coverage offered extends outside the United States and will be valid in all the countries where you’ll be traveling. Also, be sure to note any other exceptions.

  • They may need to give you another phone number to call in case you need to reach them. The 800 number listed on the back of your card may not work from foreign locations.

  • You can find out if they charge a currency conversion fee, so you can find the most economical card on which to place your foreign purchases.

Should I use my credit card when I travel?

  • Yes, using your credit card can be more valuable than using cash, so use it when you can.

  • You’ll probably be able to get a better exchange rate than changing money to spend yourself.

  • You’ll be in a stronger position; the credit card company can often charge back disputed charges.

  • Many times your credit card will offer an extra guarantee or warranty when you purchase items with your card, but you’ll want to read the fine print for exceptions.

  • You won’t have to risk your safety by carrying and displaying large amounts of cash.

  • If you lose your card, most credit cards have a low maximum liability limit if you quickly report the card as lost.

Should I use my ATM card while traveling?

  • Yes, you’ll have access to cash during your trip so you won’t have to take as much cash with you and using your ATM card can also be a good way to get cash in foreign countries.

  • The ATM will issue money in local currency.

  • You should exchange at the bank’s wholesale exchange rate. You may still want to shop around to different banks since some will charge a high usage fee for their ATMs. Although, even high ATM fees may be less than others will charge for currency exchanges.

  • Don't wait until you're out of money to go to an ATM, the machines can run out of money or break down.


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