Which card/s to use when you travel overseas

Credit cards

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So, you have a bunch of credit and debit cards and wonder which one/s to take with you on your overseas trip? Do not fret…
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Check the terms and conditions

Most importantly, check whether your current credit/debit card provider charges any of the fees outlined in our bank fees guide and how much they charge. To do this, search for the credit/debit card terms and conditions on your Card Issuer’s website.

  • If you have several cards take the card/s with the lowest fees.
  • Make sure you check your card’s expiry date well in advance of your trip and apply for an early reissue if your card expires while you are overseas.

If you have time to shop around, look for credit/debit cards that charge lower fees than your current card provider/s. Allow for sufficient time to have your application processed and your card issued.

Cash and purchases

When comparing cash advance fees (F) between cards/providers, think about how often you will need to withdraw money (and how much per transaction):

  • First, check your guidebook on how accepted credit/debit cards are at your destination. In many (so-called) developing countries cash is still king.
  • Then ask yourself how much you would be prepared to lose in the event someone stole your cash. Only withdraw that amount each time you go to an ATM.
  • Be aware of the daily withdrawal limit imposed by your card issuer. You can find it in the credit/debit card terms and conditions on your Card Issuer’s website.
  • In most cases, overseas ATM providers also impose withdrawal limits (per transaction and/or day), which means you may have to withdraw money more often than you planned.

Ideally, travel with more than one card (in case one is scammed and locked by your provider) and different brands (for example, a VISA and a MasterCard), in case one is not accepted when you want to use it.

Notify the bank of travel plans

Finally, notify your card provider/s of your travel plans to avoid your card/s being locked when potentially suspicious but legitimate transactions occur (for example, if you have recurring debits from your card in your home country and you use your card overseas at the same time).

Want to see more tips like this to make your travel budget stretch further? Follow our handy guides below.

Top Travel Money Tips
Bank Fees Guide
Cash Withdrawal Guide
Cash Exchange Guide

What debit and credit card money tips can you share?

I wrote this travel finance article based on my own personal experience. If you, like most people, travel overseas and use your debit or credit cards to make purchases or at the ATM and have something to add, please feel free to contact me. If you liked the tips and found them helpful, I would appreciate if you could share them with your friends and family via the Share buttons below. Even better, link to the page from your personal blog or social media platforms.


Which card/s to use when you travel overseas
Author: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandrarosenau/" target="_blank">Sandra Rosenau</a>

Author: Sandra Rosenau

Sandra Rosenau is a Gen X gal from Germany, born and raised behind the Iron Curtain, with an unquenchable thirst to learn. Self-starter. Multi-lingual. Minimalist. Environmentally conscious. Financially and location independent. Energised by connecting with others and helping people succeed.