5 Reasons to Ditch Your Debit Card When Traveling Abroad

limo service ny, westchester limousine service, ny car serviceAre you traveling abroad for work? Before you whip out the plastic, you might think about what type of plastic you're using. Credit cards and debit cards may seem interchangeable, but they're really not. A credit card is much safer to use than a debit card for a few major reasons.

1. You may face unexpected charges.

If you're purchasing something in an alternate currency, you'll usually have to pay a fee regarding the currency exchange. Moreover, however, you can't control the currency exchange rate that you get; if you purchase cash instead, you may be able to get a more favorable rate. Credit cards usually don't have these currency exchange fees, though you may want to ask in advance.

2. You have very limited fraud protection.

Though your bank will return fraudulent funds to you if the fraud can be verified, you'll be out of money while you wait. If you use a credit card, you can simply wait until the transactions have been reversed to make a payment. This can be a big deal if the fraud is a lot of money! Imagine losing thousands of dollars from your bank account -- it could take months to recover it.

3. Your transactions will take much longer to clear.

Credit card transactions are almost always immediate. You can even look at your online account to review them shortly after completing them. Bank transactions -- even debit transactions -- take much longer to hit your account. This has a couple of side effects. First, you won't be able to review the charges while they're still fresh in your mind, so you may not notice that they are incorrect. Second, you may not realize how much you've spent and your account could potentially overdraft!

4. You may hit a transaction limit.

Even if you haven't noticed it yet, most banks do have a transaction limit -- and they may have a different limit imposed for domestic and international transactions. Normally, when you go over a certain amount of transactions you need to pay additional fees! Credit cards never have transaction limits.

5. Your account could get red-flagged.

If you don't tell your bank that you will be traveling, they may red-flag your account. This can happen to a credit card, too, but it's not as problematic; if your bank account is frozen, you could see checks and wire transfers bouncing.

That doesn't mean you can't use a debit card abroad -- if you end up in a difficult situation, it's usually just fine. But a credit card should usually be used before you reach for the debit card for the above reasons.

Posted on Dec 04 2014

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