Leave it to MasterCard to dish out some great year-round tips for keeping your credit card safe while saving on currency and foreign transaction fees:
Some great advice in the above video:
1. Chip and PIN for the win…
It’s too bad that this still isn’t entirely foolproof. Identity thieves do tend to stay ahead of the security features our banks and other lenders develop. Still, if you don’t share your PIN, you’re likely to be in good shape.
2. Share Travel Itinerary with the Bank
That way they can work with you to set up fraud alerts and track your card’s activity. You can go ahead and try to skate by without telling them, but you also never know when your card will get frozen for suspicious charge activity for out-of-country use.
3. Prepaid Cards for Budget-Minded Travelers
Prepaid cards work just like your regular credit cards. You create your own spending limit.
4. ATMs Generally Charge Less for Local Currency
This is because you’ll only get charged a conversion fee by the banks. There are multiple potential fees that travelers can get dinged with when it comes to paying a merchant directly with your card.
5. Always ask to be Charged in Local Currency
I find this to be a common scam that merchants like to pull on newbie travelers. Why there’s even an option, I just don’t know, but hotels will charge you a good sum of cash for the privilege of converting your money (read: credit). Get a travel-specific credit card from your bank and this won’t be an issue.
I can’t recommend obtaining and using a travel credit card from your bank. Every bank has one and you’ll save a ton of dough on conversion fees, foreign transaction fees, along with access to rewards points for hotel, airline and restaurant purchases.
Happy and safe travels!
Main image by StockMonkeys.com