5 credit card questions to ask before traveling overseas

By Patricia Gras

Every year Americans take more than 59 million trips abroad. Yet many of us don't know which questions to ask regarding the use of credit cards.

Before you hit the road, let your card issuer know where and when you'll be traveling, so it doesn't mistake those overseas charges with fraudulent activity.  

Then, start asking some questions:

1. Will my card be accepted at my destination?
"The first thing people should do is, 30 to 60 days before traveling they should definitely contact their bank or credit card provider and ask some important questions," says financial adviser and world traveler Nick Festino. "Find out if their card is going to be accepted or if there will be any restrictions for it to be used abroad."

2. Does my card charge a foreign transaction fee
"These fees can run as high as 3 percent and can be quite costly," says Festino.

3. Does my card offer any travel perks?
"You may want to inquire about additional coverage your card may provide you when you're abroad such as insurance for accidents, lost luggage or auto collision," says Festino.

4. Does my card have an EMV chip?
This is the smart chip widely used in Europe and other places. "When you contact your credit card provider, it's important to see if they can provide you at no cost a chip-and-PIN card if you don't already have one," says Festino. "Most of the card companies are moving this way as we speak, but typically you have to request it."

5. How can I get cash overseas?
"Prior to traveling I would reach out to the bank or credit card provider and find out what relationships they have in the local market you're traveling to," says Festino. "This will be helpful for avoiding ATM fees. Additionally, if you need to access cash from your credit card, they'll be very helpful if you do it through a banking institution that has a relationship with your provider."

The best thing to do is to have a plan before you travel. Know how to minimize your fees and protect your credit cards. Then you can enjoy your adventure. Patricia Gras for

See related: What are the best debit cards for ATM withdrawals overseas?, Credit card travel perks -- are they worth it?, 9 tips for traveling with credit cards, As card fraud rises, so do false alarms  

Published: September 2, 2014

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Updated: 10-27-2016

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