Individuals planning a trip overseas know the struggle of dealing with foreign transaction fees. Normally filed under credit card fees, this is typically buried under the lengthy terms and conditions page of your credit card agreement.
While international fees may seem like no big of a deal, it can actually eat up a ton of your budget, especially when it can add up. Not to mention, this can even be acquired even when you don’t leave the country but you shop at an online retailer.
Thankfully, you can find ways around these pesky fees. Not only can you save more money in the long run, but you can also be more financially savvy in your transactions both in and out of the country. Take a look at the guide we’ve assembled for you.
International Fees and Potential Consequences
More commonly known as foreign transaction fees, these charges are levied by a bank or other financial institutions to a cardholder who uses their credit card to purchase in another country using foreign currency or when transactions go through a foreign bank.
This type of fee can also be applied to individuals purchasing from retailers outside of their home country or overseas. What’s more, ATM withdrawals can also incur these international fees.
While this might not seem much, this can add over time and eat away at your finances. This can be an even bigger inconvenience when you’re traveling abroad.
Tips on Avoiding Foreign Transaction Fees
Find a Card That Does Not Have Foreign Transaction Fees
To avoid paying these pesky fees, one of the best options you can choose is to find and apply for a credit card that does not charge international fees. Contrary to public perception, there are indeed cards that offer this type of benefit.
Most tie such privileges with other benefits on travel credit cards. Besides enjoying a waiver on these foreign transaction fees, you can also enjoy a bevy of perks such as travel benefits and many more depending on your chosen card provider.
Pay Using the Local Currency
Another logical step you can make is using the local currency to pay for your transactions. Normally, merchants and partner establishments ask cardholders what currency they want to pay in. Although this may seem counterintuitive, you should always opt for the local currency.
While it’s assuring to see familiar currencies, such as USD, this can be counterproductive since dynamic currency conversion rates can be quite high. This can occur when the overseas merchant chooses the exchange rate to convert the cost of the transaction should you want to pay in U.S. dollars.
Choosing to pay in the local currency ensures that your credit card network will handle the conversion, thereby giving you the best rates. Plus, you can even avoid foreign transaction fees altogether.
Exchange Currency Before Leaving the Country
Finally, you may want to use cash. As with many countries, cash is still king, particularly where credit cards are not usually accepted. Before you even go on your trip, make sure you gauge how much cash you’ll need and exchange some currency before leaving.
Having a little spending money, especially for emergencies, can give you some peace of mind knowing you have cash on hand. For this, you can go to your bank and ask them to convert the dollars into your account.
Choosing a card with no foreign transaction fees and other hidden credit card fees can go a long way. With these fees being a burden to your finances, you’ll most likely want to choose a credit provider that does away with these or even keep tabs on currency conversion fees to avoid racking up charges.