Ways to Save Money When Using Your Credit Card Overseas

You're about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. Although you've already spent thousands of dollars on a round-trip plane ticket and accommodations, you could pay more than you bargained for because of a hidden expense: credit card fees. As you will likely encounter various charges for using your credit card overseas, you should research your options to prevent fees.

Here are ways to save money when using your credit card while traveling:

"Some card providers have transaction fees lower than 3%."

Make Purchases Using Local Currency
When you are paying for things abroad, there might be a fee for paying in U.S. dollars when using your card. However, you could avoid these charges by using local currency for transactions and you might also get an improved exchange rate from your credit card company in the process, according to credit.com.

Choose a Card with Low to No Foreign Transaction Fees
Typically, some credit cards have a foreign transaction fee from either the card issuer or the payment processor, which could reach up to 3 percent, Bankrate noted. However, some card providers have transaction fees lower than 3 percent or do not charge fees. 

In addition to choosing cards that do not charge any foreign transaction fees at all, you could also apply for cards that are specifically for certain airlines or hotels to save even more money. 

Tips for Using Credit Cards Securely Overseas
Before you head out to the airport with passport in hand, make sure you have all your payment options ready and you should make sure your bank understands you are traveling abroad.

  • Contact your bank about traveling. Some banks have alerts that will raise alarms when transactions are made outside of the consumer's typical shopping patterns or shop locations, which could indicate credit card fraud. The credit card issuer could cancel the transactions and freeze the card, halting new purchases. While this is great way to prevent fraud, it could also stop you from buying items when you are traveling abroad. To avoid this happening to you, call your bank or credit card company and say where you are traveling and the cards you will likely use, according to Wells Fargo.
  • Check for credit card fraud protection. Since there is a risk that your credit card might be lost or stolen during your trip, you should ensure that your bank account will be protected through your credit card provider. If someone misuses your credit card information, you may not be liable for any of the charges depending on the credit card issuer's fraud protection policy.
  • Inspect ATMs for card readers. You will likely have to head to the ATM to receive more money for souvenirs and other purchases. However, as you approach an ATM, you should be on the lookout for ATM skimmers, or card readers designed to steal your credit card information. Look for any bulky parts that seem like they do not fit or match the ATM, which may indicate that the machine has a card skimmer.