Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

Before a trip abroad, especially to countries outside the euro zone, where the currency is different, it is advisable to carry cash with you to cover small expenses. However, it is not advisable to have too many bills, since we can expose ourselves to losing a good amount in case of loss, theft or other altercations.

To avoid these problems, we can use a credit card, with which, in addition to making payments, we can also withdraw money from ATMs. However, it is convenient to know what risks we face when prioritizing the card as a payment method . And for this, from the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) they have prepared a guide with advice and warnings to take into account when choosing this option.

“Payment cards are almost essential to travel to any destination, since they are accepted in most stores in the world, which will allow you to pay for your purchases abroad,” says the organization.

Save on commissions
For OCU, the first thing to do is check with the bank with which we have the card what type of commission (if any) applies depending on the operation that you want to carry out.

“For withdrawing money from the ATM, a commission of between 4% and 5% of the amount withdrawn is usually charged . However, some debit cards allow you to withdraw money without commissions abroad,” he says.

Similarly, most cards also have established currency exchange fees , which are applied both to purchases and to money withdrawals where the currency is other than the euro. “The commission reaches up to 3% of the amount of the operation and is added to the one established for withdrawing money at ATMs,” explains OCU.

However, it is possible to find cards without currency exchange fees and that allow you to withdraw money at ATMs without (or reduced) fees. “Many are issued by neobanks like Rebellion Pay, Vivid Money or Revolut, making them a worthwhile option for your travels,” he recommends.

In addition, according to OCU, it is preferable to make payments in the local currency , if you can choose. “If you are outside the euro zone and the ATM or POS of the business offers you the possibility of making the payment in euros, it is better to reject this possibility and choose payment in the local currency: the exchange rate that applies in these cases It’s usually very damaging.”

Other risks
In addition to the extra costs that commissions can cause us outside our country, there are other recommendations so that payments abroad are safer and at the lowest possible price.

First of all, it is convenient to estimate how much money is going to be spent daily and, consequently, establish the daily limit for the card . Thus, in case of loss or theft, we will make sure that no more than the stipulated amount can be taken from us and we will control our spending without more excesses than those stipulated. In addition, in case you need to increase the limit, many mobile banking applications allow you to modify it on the spot.

In the same way, the entities have specific and generally free telephone numbers to call from abroad and cancel the card in case of theft or loss . In many cases it is also possible to block the card directly from the mobile through the bank’s app.

Also, it is convenient to carry a second card in case the one you use regularly fails.

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