Safe credit card use overseas

/ fraud & identity personal finance

There's a lot to plan for when you're heading off for an overseas holiday - from accommodation, to flights and insurance. One of the most pressing questions most travellers face is how to take your money with you.

Travellers cheques were once in vogue, providing a secure, if slightly inconvenient method of transporting money. However, one of the most attractive options today for ease of use is most likely to be the credit card. With Visa and Mastercard accepted at 29 million1 and 35.9 million2 outlets around the world respectively, a credit card provides a sense of reassurance for those voyaging abroad. 

Here we look at how you can use your cards securely overseas. 

Before you go 

Make sure your card has a PIN set up before you go, rather than a signature approval, as some countries may require a PIN for you to complete your transactions, advises the Commonwealth Bank3

Some banks may have a policy to block unexpected international transactions to protect you against fraudulent card use4, so it's also a good idea to notify your bank when you are going overseas, and in what countries you expect to be using your card.

Talk to your bank about overseas transactions fees before you leave - you may find that using mobile banking is a more convenient and cost effective way to manage your funds while you're on the move rather than phone banking. 

In addition, if you have any bills or repayments due while you're away, schedule an automatic payment - being on holiday is no excuse for being late, and it could possibly show up on your personal credit file

Protect yourself against fraud 

Practice careful card use as you would back home, shielding your PIN entry at ATMs and retailers. Keep important international phone numbers for your bank saved in your phone, so if something should go awry, you'll be able to ask for assistance. 

Once you're back in the country, you can request a copy of your credit report to see whether any changes have been made to your credit history while you were overseas. By signing up for a credit monitoring service such as My Credit Alert, you can also keep up to date with certain changes to your credit report via email notification.

1ANZ, Reward yourself more often. Accessed June, 2015. 

2Mastercard, More About Our Brands. Accessed June, 2015.

3Commonwealth Bank, How do I keep my card safe when I'm overseas (PIN hints)? Accessed June, 2015. 

4ANZ, Travel credit card tips. Accessed June, 2015. 

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