John S Kiernan, Managing Editor
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Taking the following credit-card precautions will help you save money and avoid unnecessary hassle while using your credit card abroad.
- Get a no foreign transaction fee credit card. Do this before booking flights, hotels, etc. Foreign transaction fees will be assessed on any purchase made through a foreign merchant, even before you leave the U.S.
- Call your credit card company. Most credit card companies require you to notify them of international travel plans. If you don’t, your account may be suspended due to suspicions of fraud. Capital One and American Express are the only major issuers that automatically detect when you’re traveling.
- Know your info. Write down your account number as well as your credit card company’s phone number, and keep this information somewhere safe (not in your wallet). If your card gets lost or stolen, you’ll need both to get a replacement.
- Don’t forget your ID. Some countries may require identification to authorize a U.S. credit card transaction. So don’t forget your passport when you go shopping abroad.
Pay in the local currency. Decline any merchant’s offer to convert prices into U.S. dollars. This could be a trick known as dynamic currency conversion, which merchants often use to assess high exchange rates and line their pockets.
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