4 reasons you should always use a credit card when you’re abroad

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A credit card is the safest way to spend when traveling internationally.


the main points

  • Credit cards can provide you with liability protection and travel insurance when you travel abroad.
  • Credit cards can offer better currency exchange rates as well as offer travel benefits and rewards.
  • Make sure your credit card does not charge international transaction fees. There are a lot of cards to choose from.

Even in the face of high inflation and rising costs, Americans are spending huge amounts of money on travel. From January 2022 to June 2022, the largest increase in spending was on overseas travel by US residents. Americans spent 90% more in June than they did in January. When traveling abroad, it is important to be careful not to get robbed, scammed, or pay unnecessary fees. The best way to protect yourself, believe it or not, is to use your credit card.

Criticism makes you a target

Carrying a large amount of money when traveling abroad is not the best idea. Scammers always seek to rob tourists, and carrying cash makes you a target. Exchanging dollars for local currency at a bank also means that you pay a fee. Depending on your bank, you will also pay additional fees for withdrawing money from an ATM while you are in another country.

Credit Card Protection

Many credit cards offer purchase protection or travel coverage. They offer fraud protection as well as liability coverage. This means that if someone uses your credit card fraudulently, you will not be liable for purchases that you did not make. If someone steals your debit card, it can drain your bank account, and it can take months to get the money back.

If your card is lost or stolen, you can contact your bank to cancel the card. Some credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, offer insurance that covers flight cancellations or interruptions, lost baggage, and more. If you rent a car with it, they also offer a rental car accident damage waiver.

Credit cards offer better exchange rates

Many sellers take credit cards as a form of payment. Credit cards usually offer better exchange rates than using cash or an ATM. While some credit cards may charge a fee for international transactions, there are plenty of cards available that do not charge a fee for one.

Some of the best credit cards that do not charge fees for international transactions are:

Credit cards offer travel benefits and rewards

In addition to protecting yourself with credit cards while traveling internationally, you can also earn points or miles. Cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express give you 5X Membership Rewards® Points (up to $500,000) for flights or hotels booked directly with the company or with American Express Travel. You can also receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after an eligible airline determines and the airline bears the petty cash on your American Express Platinum Card. Terms apply.

Some credit cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve® give you access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, Priority Pass membership, and credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS or TSA PreCheck®. For American Express cardholders, the Centurion® network has expanded to include more than 40 Centurion lounges and studio locations worldwide.

If you’re traveling abroad, a credit card offers flexibility and protection that cash can’t get, and you can enjoy some of the perks that being a cardholder gives you. Be sure to double-check to ensure that your issuer does not charge international transaction fees and that you are notifying the company of the dates you are traveling. This way, the issuer will not report your international transactions as fraudulent. Travel with a backup payment option, and pay your card in full after your trip so you don’t pay interest charges.

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