Making Cents Blog

Traveling? Here are some international money tips

Helpful money tips for traveling abroadWhether you’re traveling overseas for business or pleasure, here are a few money tips to keep in mind. In general, it is a good idea to diversify your payment options by carrying both cards (debit or credit) and some local currency. Most of the time, the easiest and cheapest way to get foreign currency is to use an ATM in the country you are visiting.
Before you leave, notify your credit union, bank and credit card issuer (the financial institution that sent you the card; not Visa or MasterCard) that you’ll be using your cards in another country. This prevents a blocked card due to fraud monitoring. To make sure you are not surprised on your next billing or account statement, research current international fees that are charged for each transaction and local exchange rates—they change. Your transaction is converted from the local currency to dollars based on that day’s exchange rate. It is also wise to have the international contact numbers for all of your financial institutions and credit card issuers in case you have a problem.      
More things to know about ATM/debit cards:
·        Make sure your card is active and will not expire during your trip because you cannot activate a new card overseas. 
·        Pay attention to fees. There is a minimum 1% International Assessment Fee from MasterCard and Visa that is added to any debit card transaction in addition to other fees your financial institution can add on.
·        Be aware of your daily point-of-sale and ATM limits. If you need more cash than your ATM limit allows, use your debit card to do a cash advance over the counter at a financial institution.
·        Don’t use your ATM/debit card to make reservations for hotel or rental car accommodations. These service providers typically hold an additional amount over the cost of the room or rental, and this can tie up extra funds in your checking account until the hold is released.
·        If your PIN is longer than four digits or contains letters, contact your financial institution to change it to a four digit number.

Do you have any tips to share from your experiences? Post your comment! Those of us who are not expert world travelers will greatly appreciate it.

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