Credit card usage abroad
It is wise to bring your credit card when you travel abroad. It is an easy, simple and secure form of payment. In addition you avoid carrying large sums of cash on you. Credit cards often have various insurances included as well as good consumer protection protocols.
Before you travel:
- Buy your travel using a credit card. Although it is important to have travel insurance, the extra insurances that comes with a credit card can give you extra insurance if something happens while you’re away. If you book your flight tickets with a credit card you also get a full refund if the airline company goes bankrupt. The same does not apply when you pay with a debit card.
- Check the expiration date on your credit card and make a copy of your card and your passport. Keep these copies separately and in secure locations.
- You should always bring at least 2 cards in case something happens with one of them. Additionally it is best to keep the cards separately in case one of them should disappear.
- Write down the number to your card company’s card blocking service. Most card companies have a 24/7 service line for blocking credit cards. It can be convenient to save the number in your cellphone as well as in a notebook or similar.
Along the way:
- Credit card is the most secure payment method. You diminish the risk of losing all your cash together with your wallet and you avoid having your debit card emptied if someone gets a hold of your card or card information.
- Never give anyone your card information. If you are planning to withdraw cash from an ATM abroad you should have memorized your pin code. Also, you should never share your card information, password or pin code to others.
- Do not carry a lot of cash in your wallet. It is a huge risk even if some countries and stores only accept cash. Do not carry more money than necessary and you might want to have a hidden wallet or similar to keep your valuable belongings. A wallet in your back pocket with cash dangling out is a easy catch for thief’s, so make sure you take some necessary safety precautions when travelling.
- Keep and stay in control of all your receipts. You are personally responsible for the total amount when you buy something so it is important to make sure that the amount on the receipt is correct. Saving all your receipts enables you to compare them with the invoice when you arrive back home. Make sure the total is filled out before you pay in order to avoid uncomfortable surprises when you check later on.
- Don not let your card lay out in the open in your hotel room. If you keep your card in your hotel room make sure it doesn’t lie out in the open. Store you card in a safe place, preferably a safe if available.
- If your card disappears, cancel it as soon as possible. If you lose your card, suspect that someone stole it or misused it, make sure to block it straight away.
- Pay in local currency. Scandinavians are one of the world’s most avid users of cards abroad and many do not know that you can lose a lot of money if you pick the wrong currency when paying. A general rule is that you should always choose local currency in order to avoid extra costs and secure the best exchange rate provided by Visa or MasterCard. In addition it can be useful to know that the merchant is obligated to communicate the exchange rate they offer. You also have the right to choose whether you want to pay in kroner or local currency. Unfortunately, no restrictions exist which prevent the merchant to choose the currency themselves. The variation in currency can provide a significant difference if you shop a lot abroad.
When you arrive back home:
- Be aware – during and after your trip. Make sure no one is surveilling you when you withdraw cash. Remember to check all the transactions on your card when you arrive home and make sure the amount on your invoice is correct before you pay it. If you notice something that looks suspicious or if you have been charged too much, contact your card issues as soon as possible.