Credit and debit cards can be an excellent method of payment overseas, so it’s worth researching helpful travel credit card tips to try and discover which Canadian card is best suited to you.
Travel money is sometimes a neglected necessity by travelers, who then end up paying extortionate commission at places such as airports because cash is the only option.
However, there are several ways to pay for things overseas that are much safer than walking round an unfamiliar place with a week’s worth of travel money in your back pocket, and this article explores the pros and cons of the most commonly used methods for transporting your cash and spending it once you’ve exchanged it.
Cash remains probably the most popular payment method for travellers, as it’s accepted everywhere. However, as mentioned above, carrying large amounts of cash around as a tourist can make you a prime target for criminals, so be sure to split your money and store in in multiple places and avoid carrying large amounts at a time where possible.
Carrying cash however does completely eliminate the prospect of encountering any sneaky transaction fees which may be applied when using other methods of transaction.
Prepaid travel cards
Prepaid travel cards allow you to convert cash and store it on a handy chip and pin card, enabling you to use it in much the same way that you would use your debit card when at home.
The chip and pin aspect makes this method more secure, and eliminates the need to carry any cash. What’s more, if you’re visiting multiple places in one trip, you can store multiple currencies on it, each at a fixed rate. This can also be topped up with money from your current account should you ever run out.
Contactless versions of these cards are now available, and have been instrumental in simplifying transactions in the Canadian consumer market, so they have their uses abroad too.
However, these cards are not universally accepted, so you may encounter the odd problem in nations where chip and pin machines are not widely used.
Travel credit cards
The beauty of using a travel credit card comes in the fact that they can be used both at home and abroad. This eliminates the need to shop around for the best interest or exchange rate on your currency.
What’s more, these cards will usually charge no exchange commission, so the price you see is the price you pay, in line with the current exchange rate.
It’s important to remember that this is a credit card, and therefore bills must be paid off – so avoid overspending and leaving yourself with a huge debt to deal with further down the line, which will of course accumulate interest.
With so many cards and benefits it’s worth doing your research before you apply for one try and gage which card is best suited to you.
Travel debit cards
To avoid the aforementioned bills, travel debit cards are an excellent alternative, as you’re spending your own money with no borrowing involved.
However, outside of Canada ATMs can charge a small fee for each withdrawal, so if you need to get access to cash, it’s usually better and less costly idea to get as much as you need in one transaction.