Tips for Using Your Credit Card Abroad


The thing about credit cards is, they are incredibly convenient. Spending feels like nothing when you use the plastic card to pay for your food, Uber rides, shopping sprees, and other day-to-day expenses. But, when it comes to travel, you need to be mindful, especially if you will use your cards overseas.

Aside from the foreign transaction fee, there are other charges including bank service fees and currency conversion. Knowing banks, they will charge higher in terms of currency conversion. Hence, it’s best to ditch the credit card payment option when you will have significant fees for using it abroad.

In case you don’t have a choice and lack cash, you can still use your cards but expect up to a 3% transaction fee and lower conversion rates. In this article, you will get handy tips for using your credit card overseas and find out the best travel cards with minimum foreign transaction charges.

Using Credit Card Abroad

Inform the Bank About Your Travel

A few weeks before your trip, make sure to notify your credit card issuer about your trip so they will allow overseas usage. Otherwise, you cannot use the card for any transactions abroad. If you are going to more than two countries, indicate your itinerary, so the issuer can allow access.


One of the mistakes some travelers make is not notifying the card issuer just because they believe the card can be accepted anywhere else. However, banks have protocols and might disable your card as it detects suspicious and fraudulent activities abroad. By setting up a travel alert or calling the bank ahead of time, you can save yourself from the hassle of not being able to use your credit cards.

Understand Chip and PIN Functions

Some cards have a chip embedded inside, which is a security layer to minimize fraudulent activities. These cards will give you a personal identification number or PIN, which you can use for making purchases. In the United States, there is a practice where cardholders need to sign on the screen to confirm the purchase. Later on, bank issuers agreed to implement the technology with better security, to make it standard to international norms.

For the chip and PIN, you need to enter your security pin every time you make a transaction. This is a similar practice to debit cards.

Decline Dynamic Currency Conversion

Some banks allow you to have transactions conducted in US dollars, this way, you can have an idea of what the purchase is costing you. However, this is more expensive. You should always opt to carry out the transaction in the local currency when provided an option. Though you may not be able to calculate exactly how much it costs you in U.S. dollars, it will likely be the cheaper option. 

The Best Travel Cards with Minimal Foreign Transaction Fees

If your trip is months away, you can still get travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. Below are just of few of your options.

  • Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa Credit Card (no annual fee).
    Bank of America Corporate Center
    100 North Tryon Street
    Charlotte, NC 28255
  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (no annual fee).
    1680 Capital One Drive
    Mclean, Virginia
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card (with an annual fee of $450).
    JPMorgan Chase Headquarters
    270 Park Avenue
    New York, NY


Having a credit card brings the convenience you need when traveling. However, it can also become your enemy when it’s time to pay the credit card bill. To avoid extra charges when using the card abroad, make sure to take note of these tips and inquire about the no-foreign transaction fee credit cards.

Just make sure you know what type of credit card to get, so you can make use of the benefits every time you use it.