How to Use Credit Cards Abroad

How to Use Credit Cards Abroad
Using a credit card abroad is much like using a credit card in the United States with some minor differences. If you are planning a hiking trip in Europe or want to bike across Asia, you want to be prepared and know how to use your credit card as effectively as possible. To be as informed as possible, always speak with your credit card issuer before going abroad.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport Credit card international number
  • Passport
  • Credit card international number
Step 1
Use a universal credit card. Leave lesser-known credit cards at home and stick with Visa and MasterCard, which are used worldwide.
Step 2
Notify your credit card company of your travel dates. If traveling to multiple locations, provide a list of each country or the region where you will be traveling to prevent temporary holds from being placed on the account for the foreign transactions.
Step 3
Find out about transaction fees and withdrawal fees. According to MSNMoney, credit card companies can charge as much as 3 percent for each purchase you make overseas, of that amount a 1 percent fee is charged to convert your foreign-currency purchase (such as the peso) into American dollars. Know this amount so you can calculate what you are actually paying for each purchase. Request an international contact number should you experience any problems abroad.
Step 4
Check your receipts against your daily or weekly credit card balance. Use online statements for immediate access to your credit card account. Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your notice inaccurate or duplicate charges.
Step 5
Present the credit card with a valid form of identification such as a passport. Sign the receipt exactly as it appears on your passport and on the back of your credit card. Use credit cards with a photo ID printed on the card if you are not in possession of your passport at the time of purchase. Other state-issued identification cards may also be used; however, acceptance of such cards is subject to the merchant's approval.
Step 6
Use your credit card to rent hiking and other expensive equipment. Many resorts and camping sites require a deposit to cover the cost of broken equipment. Use a credit card to guarantee rental as well as to dispute poor customer service if an issue arises that you cannot resolve on your own.
Step 7
Use your credit card to rent a car when traveling abroad. U.S. travelers are generally subject to higher deposits when renting vehicles due to increased risk of accidents, injury and theft. Available credit on a credit card can be used in place of cash to secure a vehicle rental.
Step 8
Use your credit card at restaurants where visa and MasterCard are accepted. Refer to your credit card statement to contact the restaurant--contact information is provided by each merchant--if a billing issue should arise.

Tips & Warnings

Don't keep all your credit cards in one place.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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