Using A Debit or Credit Card Abroad?

1. Local currency:
If possible, it’s a good idea to have local currency prior to arriving in your host country. Yes, there will most likely be ATMs at or near the airport upon arrival; however, ATM fees at airports are frequently much higher.

2. Notify your bank / credit card company:
If you use your card abroad without alerting your bank, your account could be frozen as a means of fraud protection. It’s easy to make sure this doesn’t happen though! Simply call your bank and/or credit card company and alert them of the dates you will be abroad as well as the countries you will be visiting.

4. Withdrawal limits:
Check with your bank to see if your account has a daily withdrawal limit. Is it the same when withdrawing money abroad?

5. ATM fees:
Debit card fees abroad are not necessarily the same as what we are familiar with here in the US. While some banks charge a flat rate, others charge a percentage of the withdrawn amount. There are also banks that do not charge fees!

Before going abroad, I found an American bank with a sister bank in my host country. Meaning, while abroad, I could withdraw money from the sister bank without being assessed a fee. It was a bit more logistical work at the forefront, but trust me, the money saved from avoiding fees was well worth it!

6. Using credit cards abroad:
While abroad, I realized that credit cards are not as commonly used / accepted as what I was accustomed to in the States. This of course doesn’t mean that credit cards can’t be relied on; however, it’s important you make sure to diversity your source of money!

Many credit card companies also assess foreign transaction fees – meaning, there is a charge each time you use your credit card abroad. Like ATM fees, credit cards fees vary, so make sure to do your research before departure!

6. Preventative measures:
No one wants to think about having a debit / credit card lost or stolen abroad but the reality is…it can happen, even to the best of us!

Here are a few suggestions of what to do prior to departure, as preventative measures:
– Make a copy of your debit / credit card (front AND back – you’ll need to know the CVV number too!) Store this copy in a safe, secure place.
– Write down any toll free phone numbers (don’t forget to get the international numbers!) to contact your bank / credit card company if an emergency does arise.

7. Authorized users:
Many banks and credit card companies are not authorized to speak with anyone about an account who is not on the account. If you plan on having someone help manage your finances while abroad, (perhaps a parent is helping manage your financial aid, etc.) make sure this person has proper authorization to access your account(s).

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  1. It’s always best to pay cash but if you have no choice
    credit card is safer because verification process still takes
    place. By the way, if you’re thinking of getting an education
    outside your country, you might also want to consider University
    in China
    . You’ll be amazed at what you’ll get. Thanks and
    good luck!

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