It’s understandable a lot of people don’t feel safe using credit cards overseas.
It takes a certain leap of faith to insert your plastic into an ATM in a foreign country or present it to a shop assistant in a faraway land but millions of us do it every day.
The endless stories of fraudulent conduct around credit cards should have us all panicked but we’re not.
The major providers and banking institutions are extremely sophisticated at spotting dodgy activity these days and will generally let you know within hours if they’ve detected ‘unusual’ goings-on.
Misuse of credit cards is a global sport however (just one of many scams travellers need to be aware of) and as every boy scout knows, it’s always better to be prepared before you find yourself in a pickle.
The number-one rule here is always take a back-up option to access money when you’re away.
In addition, have some local currency on hand at all times for small transactions and also to cover you if your cards are stolen or lost.
Your second credit option might be a card you keep separately in your luggage, a spouse’s or friend’s card, have some traveller’s cheques or a prepaid cash passport (which are cards tailored specifically for ‘no hidden extras’ global travel).
It’s also worth checking in with your bank about the charges they place on international transactions as they can really add up.
As a guide, typically you will be up for about $5 per withdrawal at an ATM and an additional 3% as a ‘foreign transaction fee’.
Also expect to pay an additional 2% on the normal credit card transaction fees.