Using My Credit Card Abroad

Using my credit card abroad

Last week in conversation a member said, ‘I’m taking a trip to Europe next month, and I’ll be using my credit card abroad – do you think that’s a good idea?’

There’s a lot to be said for the positives of doing this, but we’d like to make sure that you’re protected against the risks, and are avoiding the pitfalls.

Here are the 5 flags we think you should bear in mind:

Before You Go

Before you leave for your trip, give your financial institution a call and let them know where you’ll be travelling to, and what dates you’ll be away. Otherwise, they may see strange spending activity on your account, and decline payments until they have researched further. Being stranded in a foreign location with no access to funds is no fun.

Visa International Transaction Fee

Visa charges an International Service Assessment (ISA) fee of 1% on transactions made overseas.
Many financial institutions charge further fees on top of this. Make sure you choose a credit card that doesn’t do this. Whilst it may seem an insignificant amount, it can add up quickly. And we think that money would be much better spent going towards your holiday.

Drawing Cash Abroad – Where Is The Closest Visa ATM?

You’re going to need cash on your trip, and probably early on. Before you leave, research where the nearest ATMs are to where you’ll be travelling. With this knowledge in hand, it will be easy to ask a taxi to travel past a Visa ATM where you can draw cash. Use this Visa global ATM locator to make things easier.

Visa Card Theft – What Do I Do?

We sincerely hope this doesn’t happen to you, it can be a traumatic experience. But without wishing it upon yourself, you must make sure you’re prepared for every eventuality. Obviously, it’s important to be careful with your valuables and to keep your credit cards safely out of the reach of pickpockets. In addition, take note of the number you should call to report a stolen visa card. Keep this number, together with a copy of your passport, credit card and any other important documentation, safely somewhere other than with your wallet.

Dynamic Currency Conversion – Which Currency Should I Spend In?

Many cardholders prefer to be charged in their own currency, so they understand the value of the transaction. While this is convenient (you don’t have to calculate the conversion), it can be expensive. Merchants can set their own exchange rate, and you could pay up to 8% for the conversion. This applies to any Visa or Mastercard transaction fees.

Make Sure You Have The Money To Spend

Credit cards are notorious for their high-interest rates, so make sure you have a credit balance on your credit card or use a debit card. If this is not possible, get in touch with us to arrange a holiday loan. NZCU South offer a Cash Passport where you can load multiple currencies on to your card and lock in the exchange rate. You’ll pay far less interest than you would if you use your credit card. Bon Voyage!

If you would like more information on NZCU South’s holiday loans or would like to apply, visit or call our friendly staff at our award winning Contact Centre on 0800 86 56 36 – we look forward to helping you.

Apply now for a personal loan