How to avoid debit/credit card problems abroad

Travelling abroad, most travelers prefer to bring a bank card instead of cash. But in this case the debit/credit card not only simplifies and makes secure your money transactions, but also creates some additional problems. We will tell you what you should know about cashless payments in a foreign country in order not to have "tourist plastic" in your pocket instead of the card.

Inform your bank about your trip

You should tell employees of the Bank about the exact dates of your trip in advance in order not to have the monetary transactions blocked. Also specify all the countries where presumably you can withdraw the money.
Each bank has its own system of fraud protection, but in general it is determined by the number of atypical actions performed with the card: the amount, time, place of payment, etc.
The most common problems with debit/credit card abroad are related to the last factor, because usually fraudsters try to withdraw money from the stolen card in other country. Therefore, in order to avoid problems with the regional debit/credit card blocking, you should tell employees of the bank where you will make payments with the card: if you let them know that you will stay in Italy only, and then you will visit Switzerland spontaneously, the card can be blocked if you decide to withdraw cash there.
In addition, learn about the daily card limit and increase it if it is necessary, because some cards have a limit of $200-300 per day. You should get to know this before you leave. 

Salary cards

The most common problems occur with salary cards. This type of card is quite widespread: the majority of working people has it. There is no wonder, they often try to take it on trips.
As a rule it represents the low-level card (Visa Electron and Maestro). These cards usually have many restrictions and often foreign banks refuse to work with them. Visa Classic and MasterCard Standart remain much more reliable and universal.
The best of all would be to obtain the cards of different banks, because often the reason of failure in non-cash payments abroad is the problem with the bank itself, or to be more specific with its low credibility.
Best of all, if the card is the nominal (it has your name embossed) and it has the chip. But even in this case, the proof of identity may be required during the non-cash payments. If you have the possibility, make sure that the spelling of the name on your card is the same with those in your international passport. This will help you avoid another problem with the debit/credit card. 


Many people believe that the fee depends on the bank, where your card is servicing. This is not entirely true. The fact that each payment system (MasterCard or Visa) has its rate which is close to the exchange rate of the interbank foreign exchange market.
In some cases, there is a possibility of the double currency conversion. For example, in countries where USD/EUR is not the official currency (e.g. Egypt), double currency conversion can take place: first the currency of your country is converted into USD and then - into the local currency. We have writen about that in detail in the article "Visa vs Mastercard: Does it make any difference?"



Please note that having your money withdrawn via ATM you will have to pay a considerable fee: the fee of your bank (1%) + the fee of the bank the ATM belongs to + the fee for currency conversion. Take into account, the fee for the credit card is higher than for debit card.
In addition, often there is a minimum fee for money withdrawing via the ATM (approximately $3), so usually it is advantageous to withdraw the large amount of money. Anyway, it is better to pay with the card if you have this possibility.
Be sure to take not only the cards, but cash in local currency wherever you go. Each country has its own rules regarding the work with bank cards, you should not rely on the cards only. Cash is the fastest solution for any problem with the debit/credit card.


Unauthorised overdraft

Try not to spend all the money at your debit card because there is a risk to go overdrawn, in other words, to spend more money than you have at your card. Then the odd amount which you spent will be charged a high interest rate.
Be especially careful when the card is pegged to the currency of your country, and it is not the USD/EUR. In this case, it is difficult to predict the fee rate and you can easily go overdrawn.
Also consider that debiting the account in the currency of your country usually takes 2-3 days from the date of payment (before that the certain amount of money is blocked). During this time the currency exchange rate can change dramatically, the amount of money you have already spent increases, and the user can just go overdrawn if the card do not have enough money at the moment.
It is impossible to predict all these circumstances, but it is important to keep in mind this piece of advice in order not to pay off high fees after returning from the trip. It's enough to have a certain amount in the account, which can not be used under any kind of circumstances. This significantly reduces the risk of additional problems with the debit/credit card.


Just in case

Keep the records of your card number, the telephone number of the bank and your passport details. In case of theft or loss of the card you can quickly block it. And make sure that your phone account has enough money to make a call to your country.
It is also good to receive the traveler's cheques at your bank in advance. It will help you if you have problems with the debit/credit card.
We hope, you have clarified the situation regarding the problem with the debit/credit card abroad. Travel and never face the troubles mentioned above!