Paying with Credit Cards Abroad – Good or Bad?


Visa’s Survey

Visa has recently published the results of a new study of the credit card holders’ preferences when traveling abroad. The survey was commissioned by Visa and conducted in March 2019 among 500 18-65 years old U.S. citizens who had left the country for traveling at least once during the past 2 years.

It was revealed that 63% of respondents feel uncomfortable and more exposed to theft when they have cash with them. That’s why travelers prefer paying with credit cards in 48% of cases while being abroad, and 43% of them consider credit cards the safest payment method.

At the same time, travelers admitted that sometimes they had met a want of cash and complained of some inconveniences faced because of the lack of local currency. 44% of respondents had been prevented from making some purchases, e.g. 29% had been unable to buy souvenirs, and 32% said they could not have given a tip.

Credit Card or Cash?

The survey shows that people trust credit cards and feel safer not carrying cash in their pockets. However, there are circumstances when you simply have to use real money as cards may not be accepted. Our advice is to have both a credit card and a bit of cash in reserve but use those rationally so as not to experience inconvenience in the future. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your travel:

  • Take care of small expenses in advance and prepare cash. Overseas cash withdrawals can cost you a pretty penny.
  • Don’t forget to exchange currency in the bank. Local exchange offices can rip you off, especially ones located in the city center.
  • Make sure your card is accepted in the country you are going to. Some cards are more widely accepted around the world than others.
  • Find out whether your credit card presupposes no foreign transaction fee. Otherwise, you’d better put this card back in the wallet and forget about it till your trip ends.
  • Always pay in local currency. Remember this rule when paying both with a card and in cash and do not agree to pay in American dollars if the country has a different currency. The reason is that the conversion rate sellers or payment terminals offer may be absolutely unprofitable for you. Moreover, there may be a fee for this operation.

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