With the holidays coming up, more and more Australians will leave the country for their end-of-year getaways. This means that more and more Australians will get caught up with the challenges of using their credit card overseas.
According to one credit card expert, Australians lose millions of dollars every year through poor credit card management. Fortunately, he has some tips so we don’t fall in to any traps.
Roland Bleyer is the founder of creditcard.com.au, Australia’s leading independent credit card comparison site.
Bleyer has some advice on how to use your credit card overseas so you aren’t the victim of credit card fraud, blocks on your card or even having your card stolen by a dodgy ATM.
Spread your valuables and money across different places
“When you’re overseas, you need to be twice as vigilant as you’d be at home. It’s best to keep some cash, access to a bank account and a few credit cards in different locations where possible. Whether that’s at the hotel, in your wallet, your suitcase or your handbag, mix it up so all your valuables aren’t in the one place,” Bleyer said.
Thieves are a traveller’s worst nightmare. Everyone has heard stories of people having their wallet or their handbag stolen without even realising.
Bleyer has some strategies to avoid being the victim of fraudulent behaviour.
Set up payment notifications and alerts
“Make sure you have instant payments alerts setup in your mobile app. This way if any fraudulent activity starts to hit you can block you card straight away. You also want to select a card that allows you to instantly block the card through an app on your phone,” Bleyer said.
Beware of ATMs
“ATMs overseas may not be as reliable as they are in Australia. Try to use ATMs that are located outside of a bank. These will be monitored for fraud and scams more regularly. If your card gets stuck in the ATM, you will be able to contact the bank to get the card back.”
Beware of hidden fees
According to Bleyer, a lot of Australians end up losing a lot of money by using their credit card overseas. There are a multitude of hidden fees that most Australians don’t even know exist.
These fees add up to cause quite a financial headache for cash-strapped travellers.
“You should always check what conversion rate your bank will use with the card. Most should peg to either the Visa or Mastercard exchange rate. Though many might tap a fee on top of this. This could increase the cost by up to 4%,” Bleyer said.
“If you’re a frequent flyer, you should choose a card with 0% foreign fees. Australians spend over 1 million dollars a day just on foreign transaction fees on credit cards. These fees range from 2-4% per transaction, which really add up when traveling.”
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