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Traveling? Beware of Credit Card Fees

March 31, 2015 3 comments

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Planning on traveling, I had to make a few important phone calls. You would think the calls were to family and friends, but no, I had to contact my bank and credit card companies. After a barrage of interrogative questions from a financial representative asking where I was going, when I was going, and when I was returning, I finally gave out to my interrogator. “You do not need to know exactly when I’m leaving and returning, you only need to know an approximate time frame for each destination. To be frank, I’m uncomfortable about telling anyone that I’m leaving my home on specific dates. In addition, the likelihood of me using your credit card after finding out about 3% fees for each use are slim to none.” And with that, I was finally able to end the call. Thankfully, my debit card company advised me of no fees and was less inclined to act like a stalker regarding my travel plans.

So, with spring break and summer travels coming up, I thought it was a good time for a travel-reminder blog post about credit cards and debit cards. Because card fraud is a concern, consumers should contact financial institutions to ensure out-of-the-area transactions will not be declined. Furthermore, you should ask the following questions to ensure the best rates and avoid fees for foreign travel:

  1. Are there foreign transaction fees? Do the fees apply to purchases and/or cash withdrawals?
  2. What charges apply to purchasing foreign currency directly from a financial institution?
  3. What is the purchasing process to buy foreign currency prior to departure?

Prior to my travel dates, I found out that my two credit cards had 3% foreign transaction fees, but my debit card did not. You can find some helpful information regarding changes in credit card fees in the article, Cards with no foreign transaction fee cards surge. In short, don’t subject yourself to unnecessary fees and let financial institutions know they’re losing out on your business; otherwise, you can pretty much count on having your pocket picked!

Nobody had a credit card when I was a kid. No one had credit card debt. But these big companies and banks wanted to know how to get more money out of people – get them charging things.-Michael Moore

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