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Some Thoughts about Using Credit Cards to Places of Interest Abroad

I believe that the convenient of using credit cards while traveling cannot be denied, but rather a necessity.

Personal PorterBasically cards that are worth using for traveling purpose are credit cards, debit cards as well as rewards cards. The important point to note is cards are not the same, even among credit cards themselves. For example, some credit card companies charge a foreign transaction fee of 2 to 5% on any charge made internationally while some issuing bank might also tact on similar fees. Luckily for Malaysian, we are exempted from this that is at least for the credit cards that I hold! Know why? Like a faithful (or should I use loyal?) husband to his wife, period!

Some of the things that worth considering when using credit cards are:

  1. Check with your credit cards companies before your journey abroad to avoid being charged with hefty usage fees.

  2. Notify your card issuing company before you travel, especially abroad. Reason being that the card issuer might put a hold on your card due to unrecognizable spending pattern or activities, like a charge in a restaurant in China while you are a Malaysian. This is a common practice for fraud prevention by the card issuers.

  3. Record all your credit card numbers as well as its related contact numbers in a safe place should something unwanted such as lost or stolen of card happen.

  4. You might experience difficulty when making purchases if you have a traditional card or a chip card that requires a signature as many European countries have adopted “smart” or “chip and pin” systems that confirmed purchases with a pin and not a signature. Anyhow not to worries too much, as you may still request for the purchases to be made by a signature though.

  5. Before you start to use for your purchases ask to find out is there any dynamic currency conversion (DCC) charges imposed by the merchants, i.e. shop, restaurant, hotel, etc (not Visa or Master). As you may be not aware, this is the fee that you will pay to the merchant for goods or services that you received from them, usually is around 3%. Please note that this is in addition to those credit cards companies or issuing bank foreign transaction surcharges. As a traveler, you should not take this lightly as this may add up to quite a substantial sum considering all the hotel stays, meals, museum entrance fees, etc.

Smart saving traveling tips:

  • Speak up to avoid DCC charge. To worries less about DCC, you might consider using an American Express Card, as it does not allow merchants to perform DCC.

  • Consider using debit cards or rewards cards where appropriate or a combination of your credit cards, debit cards and rewards cards.

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