Credit Cards Abroad

Using your Credit Cards Abroad can be the most convenient, and safest way for you to pay for goods and service.

You need to be aware though that many credit card companies impose stiff financial charges to customers when they use their credit cards abroad. We’ve also researched the market to enable you to compare credit cards that DON’T impose stiff penalties when you use them abroad – these are compared under Overseas Credit Cards

Our tips if you’re taking your credit card on holiday:-

  1. Compare credit cards, particularly our selection of overseas credit cards to find a card that has competitive charges if you use it abroad. Some credit card companies charge you a 3% levy for cash withdrawals and a 3% currency exchange charge which means if you draw cash from a bank abroad you’ll could immediately reduce your spending power by 6%. Compare what rates your existing card issuer charges, and shop around.
  2. Don’t let your credit card(s) out of your sight, particularly in bars and restaurants in busy tourist areas. Don’t leave your credit cards in a handbag or beach bag under the table. If you don’t need the credit card with you when you go out, you’re probably better off leaving it in the hotel safe.
  3. Only take credit cards with you abroad that you plan to use
  4. If you’ve registered your cards with a protection agency, make sure you have your registration details and the agency’s contact details with you when you travel
  5. Inform your card issuer of your contact details abroad, especially your mobile number so that they can contact you if they spot any unusual transactions
  6. Make sure you have your card issuers 24 hour contact telephone number
  7. Never give your personal PIN number to anyone, even if they claim to be from the police or from your credit card company.
  8. Make a conscious step to protect your PIN number when using it, you can use your free hand to shield the keypad
  • If you’re using your credit card abroad, you also need to be careful that if you give your credit card number out to a hotel or car hire company, you’re completely in agreement with them as to what amounts they’re going to obtain authorisations on, or debit your card with. Even if you’re dealing with a trusted and reputable company, once they have your credit card number and expiry date, they can charge amounts to you that you may not be comfortable with.
  • Many hotels in Europe are now obtaining authorisations on customers cards which cover the expenditure that they think you might incur, or charges you might run up on your room bill, during your stay.  These amounts might not bear any relation to the actual amounts you’re spending, but each time a merchant obtains an authorisation on your card (whether or not its actually used to match up to a completed debit later) this effectively eats away at your credit limit, reducing your spending power on holiday.
  • Its not unusual for a 3* hotel in Europe to seek an authorisation of the equivalent of £150 each day during your stay away, whether you’re spending that money on facilities, food & drink or not. This authorisation will drop off your card about 2 weeks later if no debit appears to match up to it, but this can cause people big headaches whilst they’re away as their credit card limit is gradually being eroded during their holiday by expenditures they’re not actually making.
  • If you’re drawing money on a credit or debit card from a bureau de change in the UK watch out – most credit cards and debit cards still charge you a foreign transaction fee even if you’re still technically on home soil.
  • There’s a free guide published by the UK Cards Association which gives lots of useful consumer information about what to watch out for when using your credit card abroad. Its really worthwhile reading and its here for you below.

Using your credit card abroad


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