Guide to using your Credit Card Overseas

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Why should I care?

We all know that it is handy to have a Credit Card with you while traveling in case you run out of money and get stranded. But using your credit card overseas is a bit different from using it in New Zealand. There are a few important things to consider before you set off on your trip. For example many European countries do not allow signature verification of credit cards and many ATMs overseas do not accept 6 digit pin numbers.

To be safe please check out our extensive list of things to consider about using your credit card abroad and take appropriate measures to protect yourself whilst traveling.

Things to consider before you travel

  • Make sure your credit card is not expired or due to expire soon as it can be extremely difficult to get a replacement credit card while overseas.
  • Check your monthly and daily credit limit if you plan to use your credit card as your primary means of payment overseas. You can often easily request an increase on your credit limit.
  • Find out what your bank’s overseas transaction fees are. Often purchase on your credit card overseas might incur only a small foreign exchange fee which might work out cheaper than getting a travellers check for purchases.
  • If your credit card includes free travel insurance. Check the terms and conditions of the travel insurance cover as often this requires a percentage of your travel expenses to be paid using your credit card.
  • If you normally sign for your credit card purchases make sure your credit card’s pin number facility is activated and memorise your pin number as many countries, especially in Europe, require a pin number even for purchases and do not offer the option to sign for a credit card transaction.
  • Check that you can actually use your credit card in your country of destination. Believe it or not Credit Cards are not accepted in some countries including: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan and others. Some countries do not accept specific types of credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa or Amex.
  • Let your credit card provider know you are leaving the country and what countries you plan to visit. Credit Card companies monitor credit card activities and might block your card if they notice suspicious purchases on your card from overseas.
  • Some overseas ATMs do not accept 6 digit pins so it is worth discussing this with your card provider before you set off.
  • Make a copy of the front and back of your credit card and keep it in a secure location. You might also be able to request a back up credit card to store separate from your normal credit card.

Things to consider while you travel

  • Avoid cash withdrawals on your credit card overseas as often cash advances result in instant interest charges from the day the cash is withdrawn. Other charges on cash advance overseas might also include ATM fees, foreign currency exchange fees and withdrawal fees.
  • Only use your credit card for purchases in well known and reputable stores.
  • If you use internet banking, monitor your credit card usage online to spot any irregularities.

Things to consider when you get back Once you are back home in New Zealand, let your credit card provider know that you back. This will allow your provider to reactivate their overseas fraud protection feature and keep you safe from fraudulent overseas activities.

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