Should You Use a Credit Card Overseas?


You may have a lot of questions about your upcoming trip and navigating a world away from home. One of those very important questions may be about how to pay for things while you are abroad. The biggest question many travelers have is the security of credit cards. Should you use a credit card overseas? Let us break it down for you.

Credit Card Convenience

One of the biggest benefits of using a credit card while overseas is the convenience of paying for everything using one card. You can swipe and pay without having to think much! In addition, you probably already have a credit card so you would not have to do any planning or assessing money options before you go. You can just hop on a plane and be ready to swipe anytime you need too! This does sound easy and when you travel, simple is often best.

International Fees

When in your home country, you can swipe your credit card and be on your way, paying the exact price of the item you purchased. However, when you are overseas, every time you swipe your credit card, you may be hit with an international transaction fee. With every purchase you make, that fee may be applied to your account. Those fees are going to add up quickly and cost you a lot. You will be paying a high amount for the convenience of a credit card.

Select Vendors Accept Credit Cards

Credit cards are accepted many places around the world but not everyone will take credit. Smaller vendors or more remote locations in the world may not be as credit card friendly. This can limit your spending and restrict what you are able to buy. In order to be able to buy the things you’d like while traveling, you should always have some of the local currency on hand. Think about converting some of your cash using an easy currency website, such as FX Compare. It’s wise to do this before you travel so that you have cash on hand when you arrive abroad. 

Travel Money Cards

If you like the idea of using a credit card to pay for things, having money conveniently on one card in your pocket, you should consider getting a travel money card instead. Travel money cards are reloadable cards that act like a debit card. You can put as much foreign currency on the card as you’d like and then swipe it just as you would a credit card. Go online and add more money as needed or, convert the cash from your card back into your bank account at the end of your trip. There are no international transaction fees on a travel money card and your persona information is not attached to the card (in case it is lost or stolen). 

Yes, credit cards are convenient to use while overseas but overall, you should avoid using them as much as possible. You will likely be hit with unknown fees and some vendors may not accept credit cards. Using local currency or a travel money card instead of a credit card will protect your personal information, be easy to use and enable you to buy anything you’d like while on your trip.  So skip the credit card and use one of these better options.