1. Stay vigilant.
It’s easy to let the holiday spirit take over, but when it comes to your credit card, you need to remain focused. Take as much care with it as you would at home. Make sure you know where your card is at all times and don’t let anyone take it out of your sight to pay for meals or souvenirs. If you do fall victim to crime, or lose your card when you’re away, call your provider as soon as possible so they can stop your card purchases and order a replacement card.
2. Pay in the local currency.
There’s a system some overseas shop owners use called ‘dynamic conversion’ where they charge you in pounds for goods so they can add a conversion fee to the transaction. These fees are usually very profitable for them so they’ll try it whenever possible.
If you pay in euros or dollars (or whatever the local currency is), it might be cheaper as you won’t be liable for this extra amount. You should be asked what currency you want to use to pay for your goods, but retailers may try to influence your decision and list reasons why you should pay in pounds. Do some research before you leave so you can see which is the most cost-effective option for you, and insist on using the local currency if needed. Check your receipt as it will state how you opted to pay. Remember, there’ll always be a conversion fee for using your credit card overseas.
3. Check out fees before you leave.
Knowing what fees apply to your credit card account before you leave home can stop you getting any surprises on your statement when you get back. Most cards carry some sort of foreign transaction charges, and taking money from an ATM when abroad could be especially costly, so check your terms and conditions beforehand to keep charges to a minimum. Check with your provider if you’re unsure exactly how charges will affect you. MBNA is very clear about the fees which could apply.
Review more information on using your credit card abroad here.
4. A credit card could be the best holiday spending option.
Your credit card could be the best way to pay for holiday spends, as long as you’re careful. Debit cards might have more expensive charges attached to them than credit cards, and Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most countries throughout the world. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of all the security features associated with a credit card to protect you, which you won’t have if you only take foreign currency or travellers cheques with you.
At MBNA, we’re always on the lookout for unusual activity, so you can use your card confidently. But if the unthinkable happens, you won’t be liable for transactions made without your knowledge or consent. You must contact us as soon as your card is missing, or if you notice any unusual transactions on your account.