Traveling abroad can be a wonderful experience, but many inexperienced travelers return home to an unpleasant surprise when they take a look at their credit card bills. Imagine coming home to find out that you can’t pay your rent or mortgage on time, or your payments for your BMW car are going to be late because of exorbitant credit card bills.
These days, credit card companies often charge what are known as “foreign transaction fees” on purchases made in other countries. These fees can vary greatly from one credit card company to the next, but the truth remains that these fees can add up very quickly. Fortunately credit card companies are now required by law to disclose information on these fees to their customers so that they know what to expect when using their cards to make foreign purchases.
Still, for those who are traveling on a budget or who want to keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible, foreign transaction fees can be a major inconvenience. Here are some tips for reducing or avoiding such hidden costs, and hopefully saving money along the way.
1. Speak with Your Company Ahead of Time
You should always call your credit card company to let them know that you will be traveling to a different country. Not only will this allow them to make a note of the dates you will be traveling so as to approve any out-of-country charges to your card, but you may also be able to get them to reduce or drop some of these annoying fees. Just be sure to ask about the specifics of the fees and see if there is anything you can do to have them excused while on your trip.
2. Consider Switching Companies
For those who do a lot of international traveling, it may very well be worth it to switch to a credit card that does not charge these fees in the first place. There are many credit cards out there that are specifically meant for international traveling. This way foreign transaction fees can be the last thing on
3. Use Other Forms of Payment
If switching cards is out of the question and your credit card company refuses to drop or reduce your fees, there are other options. One is to take out cash before your trip and exchange it for the country’s local currency. You could order a set of traveler’s checks prior to your departure and use those for your transactions. Many, many businesses these days accept traveler’s checks, but it is still wise to carry emergency cash on you at all times as well.
If you plan ahead, there are ways reduce or even avoid credit card fees altogether, so be sure to give some of the above tips a try for yourself.