When traveling abroad, using a credit card can get costly. With the exception of one credit card company, credit card companies charge a 3% international credit card transaction fee for all purchases made outside the United States. This 3% fee is generally hidden in the fine print of your credit card terms, but unless you’re carrying a no transaction fee credit card, you’ll be paying extra for every purchase you make.
One way to avoid paying international credit card fees is to use your debit card. Although rules and fees vary from bank to bank, many national banks only charge a foreign currency conversion charge when you make a transaction. Unfortunately, there are a number of very major drawbacks to using your debit card to make purchases abroad. First, if someone steals your debit card info, your bank account may depleted before you realize it. This can lead to overdraft charges and other issues. Secondly, if your debit card is stolen, the funds that should be available to you in your bank may not be available for a substantial amount of time as the bank investigates your claims.
Clearly, this scenario could prove a nightmare. Imagine being stuck abroad with no available cash and returning home to spend weeks waiting for funds to return to your bank account.
Avoiding this scenario by using a credit card is must do. If your credit card is used fraudulently, you can contest the charges immediately and the money in your bank remains safe. Of course, paying a 3% fee for international credit card usage can cause a problem. However, simply apply for a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees and you avoid excess fees and prevent all the issues that can arise when you use your debit card.
Traveling abroad without a no foreign fee credit card can be more expensive and, in worst case situations, nightmarish. Using a debit card can obviously create some serious, time consuming and unnecessary financial headaches. Paying a 3% fee is generally worth avoiding the potential headaches, but since it is possible to avoid this fee, the best option is to apply for a credit card that doesn’t charge a 3% international transaction fee.
To find a no fee international credit card, visit the no foriegn transaction fee section of our website.