Best Credit Cards to Use When Abroad

Posted on 02/20/2014 ~ Categorized as Live, Play
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dhalbert@escapeartist.com

As the lead inbound marketing consultant and web designer, Don Halbert practices what he preaches and enjoys living, working, playing and investing abroad in Costa Rica.

Best Credit Cards to Use When Abroad

When abroad, having money accessible to you is a must. Despite whether you’re an expat, a retiree, or just travelling, you should never leave home without a credit card as back up.  Even if you plan on using cash most of the time, it never hurts to have an alternative, especially now that credit cards are becoming more and more accepted internationally.

The best part about using a credit card when abroad is the security that’s available in the event the card is lost or stolen.  All you have to do is call the credit card company or contact them via the Internet and let them know what’s happened.  They’ll be able to instantly put a hold on the card or cancel it, and if there have been any fraudulently accrued charges, they’ll reimburse you for them and investigate the situation.  This way, you’re not out any money and the worst case scenario is that a new card will be sent to you within a couple of weeks.  If your purse or wallet has ever been stolen abroad, you understand what a huge relief this can be.

One of the biggest downsides to using a credit card when living or travelling internationally is the potential fees.  Most cards will charge you a 2-4% international adjustment fee for every single purchase.  So in other words, for every $100 that you spend, around $4 of that will go straight to the card company.  While this might not seem like much, over the course of time it can add up quickly to a significant amount of money.

If you’re looking to get a reliable credit card abroad that’s especially for globetrotters, here are some of the best ones on the market currently:

Post Office

Post Office credit cards never charge fees on anything you buy when abroad.  Plus, if you use the card to buy currency, they don't charge a commission.

Saga Platinum

This card is specifically for people over the age of 50.  They get zero percent on foreign currency fees, as well as zero percent on any transfers or purchases within the first nine months.  After that, it’s only a three percent balance transfer fee.

Halifax Clarity

Like the others, this card doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees on the things you buy.  But where they really stand out is that you won’t be charged a fee for ATM withdraws from anywhere in the world.  You will, however, still have to pay interest on the amount withdrawn.

Aqua Advance

If your credit is slightly less than ideal, than this is the card for you.  You won’t have to pay anything when using it overseas for purchases, but the monthly interest rate is almost thirty-five percent, so you’ll want to pay this one off every month.


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