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Golden State Partners Explains How To Properly Use Credit Cards When Traveling Abroad

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Traveling out of the country is an adventure that can enrich your life: navigating through another country with a completely different language and experiencing another unique culture create unforgettable memories.

However, when it comes to your management of finances while overseas you'll need to make some smart and practical steps in order to prevent your trip from becoming unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Let these smart tips from Golden State Partners get you prepared.

The Reason To Not Depend Solely On Cash

One of the most important things to consider is how are you going to pay for everything. Remember, that when you're moving about in a foreign land you will be presented with payment transaction options and requirements that are completely different than what you are accustomed to.

Many times, dealing with cash overseas is a major inconvenience because you aren't sure about exchange rates and since you are not familiar with the local currency you are an easy target to get ripped off on even the most seemingly insignificant of purchases.

A handful of multi-colored bills or never-seen-before coins can cause quite a bit of anxiety when you are in crowded or busy places and there are already many eyes on the obvious tourist.

The Benefits of Using Credit Cards Whenever Possible While Traveling

Because of the headache brought on by dealing with cash, credit cards are often seen as the more practical option. Using a credit card to book flights, rental cars, hotels, and trips is a convenient way to pay for travel expenses.

The advantages that credit cards give you over cash are numerous.

Credit cards provide you two large incentives when you use them to book travel:
  • Points
  • Protective Financial Services

POINTS: With many credit card providers, not only can your purchases earn you miles or points toward future travel, but you will be better-taken care of if your excursion does not go as planned.Image result for Credit Cards travel miles

If you travel frequently, you'd be wise to research which credit cards provide travel rewards.

Many credit card companies, for instance, allow you to earn extra travel miles for each dollar spent on purchases and often there is no limitation on how many miles you can earn. This is advantageous because your vacation spending can reap you rewards which may be redeemed against future travel purchases.

PROTECTIVE SERVICES: If you're booking a trip, it's wise to cover the charges with your credit card so that you can also benefit from credit card protective services.

But... Protection from what?

Unfortunately, some fly-by-night booking companies advertise travel packages that seem too-good-to-be-true because they are in actuality a scam or a huge oversell of what you'll actually recieve. If this happens to you, you can dispute a charge by a company that fails to deliver on what you paid for.

Just be sure to read the fine print on your credit card provider's contract, since different credit cards provide different amounts of coverage.

Look into what your credit card company offers before you book your trip, so you are not caught off guard while on vacay.

9 Things To Do Before You Take Off & When You Get to Your Destination:

1. Draft your credit card strategy.

For traveling abroad, you may want at least two credit cards with you and they should ideally be Visas and/or Mastercards (Discover and American Express are less widely accepted globally ). Having credit cards from various payment networks helps, also, as in the case of this widespread Visa service outage that affected cardholders in Europe on June 1, 2018. You also may want to select credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees.

Also, carefully select credit cards that are widely accepted where you're traveling. Travel guidebooks are a great reference becaue they often tell you which credit card to bring along.

2. Notify your banks of your travel plans.

Even if your credit card company says it's not necessary, it won't hurt to inform your card issuer where you're traveling and when. Be sure to have a phone number for each bank so that you can report any issues. 800 numbers do not work in many nations, so you need direct numbers.

If you don't contact your card issuers, transactions from your odd  location might be flagged and cause your issuer to block additional charges, because they might believe your credit card or account information has been stolen.

3. Plan to take some cash with you.

Always keep both U.S. dollars and foreign currency with you as a last resort.

There will likely be places that don't accepts cards. For instance, street markets which are common in European cities, only take money. So take a couple of hundred dollars worth of cash just to be safe.

4. Pack your debit card to the trip.

To withdraw cash from ATMs, you will need a debit card attached to your home bank accounts. Be sure to have the money in the account.
Check with your bank to learn if it's a partner with a global ATM network. Interbank networks, such as Maestro, Cirrus, Visa PLUS and Mastercard, empower network ATM cardholders to get surcharge-free ATMs overseas.

5. Pay your bills beforehand, including credit card bills.

If you are gone for a couple weeks, do not forget to pay your bills ahead. Missing a card payment will activate instant late fees with most card issuers.

6. Keep a copy of your card info with you.

Pack copies of your card information in a safe place but different from the cards (not in your wallet, please ). It would also help to have a photocopy of your passport while traveling too.

Take precautions in the event you lose your wallet: Snap a photograph of the front and back of your cards and email them to yourself. Then you can call home and get the information required to cancel and replace the card.

7. Choose to accept charges in local currency while on your trip.

Often when using a credit card, you may be asked if you would like the charge in dollars or the foreign form of currency. You should choose the foreign currency because your card issuer will give you a better exchange rate on overseas transactions than the seller will.

8. Don’t use a debit card for purchases.

Just about all debit cards used overseas for purchases will incur foreign transaction fees. And you want to avoid those fees whenever possible.

9. Do not use a credit card to get money.

Much like in the U.S., you should not attempt to use your credit card at the ATM. It'll be billed as a cash advance, and charge a high interest rate.

And, as if that weren't bad enough, you'll likely be charged a transaction fee equaling a percentage of the money advance.

Contact Golden State Partners If You Have Credit Concerns

If you are worried that you won't be able to use credit while overseas because of lingering debt or past defaults, that's understandable, yet fixable.Image result for financial advisor

If you diligently plan ahead and handle your credit card concerns now you'll have a financially worry-free travel experience, knowing that your finances are in check and your cards will clear.

If you need help, please call Golden State Partners toll-free at 1-888-365-8770. If you have any questions regarding your low-interest rate credit card debt Golden State Partners is the solution-maker for you.



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