Using Credit Cards on Holiday
Although you may have to pay extra charges when using a credit card on holiday, the consumer and fraud protection you are entitled to can make it worthwhile.
More from Credit Card Tips
29 December 2008
Using Credit Cards on Holiday
The same consumer rights are also applicable to goods brought overseas using your credit card rather than another form of payment.
Before You Go
Book your holiday in the first place with a credit card. Whether you are seeking a package deal, or separate flights, accommodation and so on your credit card will afford you consumer protection that other methods of payment do not.
If you use your credit card rather than a different form of payment this can give you extra consumer protection.
Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if you pay for items from £100 up to £30,000 both the card issuer and the trader have responsibility under a rule called equal liability. If anything goes wrong such as the goods are damaged or the company goes into liquidation, you will have protection.
This is why, for example, many people book flights or a package holiday on their credit card and then immediately pay it off after they have made the transaction. This consumer protection does not exist if you pay by cash or debit card. Using a credit card, this protection also applies if you part pay for something.
Use your credit card on holiday for the same protection...
The same consumer rights are also applicable to goods brought overseas using your credit card rather than another form of payment. This also includes buying goods for delivery to the UK from overseas by telephone, mail order or over the Internet.
...but don’t get clobbered by charges
And here’s the rub.
There are additional charges when you use your credit card abroad. Providers are charging a typical loading fee of 2.75% onto your spending.
This means that you pay an extra £2.75 on every £100 spent and £27.50 on every £1,000.
Watch out also, for the fees on cash withdrawals, which can be high – 2.5% to 3%. If you have to withdraw cash it is better to make fewer, larger withdrawals to minimise charges. Check to see if your bank caps these charges.
There are a few providers who won’t add extra charges when you use your card abroad. Think about it, if you’ve spent all that time trying to find the perfect holiday, why not pay the same attention to your finances rather than leaving extra fees to chance?
By looking for the best card to use abroad you’ll be able to avoid too much extra expense.
Consider a pre-paid foreign exchange card
A few providers offer pre-paid foreign exchange cards, which you can top up at a good exchange rate. You then use them in the same way as a debit card and they can help you to work (or play) to budget. You can top them up by phone or online while you are abroad.
Be card aware when away
Check foreign usage loading on your card and any other charges.
Avoid taking loads of cash. Even if your card provider does charge you for spending when out of the country, it beats the risk of taking cash that can be lost and stolen – with no compensation to you.
The purchase protection that a card abroad will give you is a useful benefit.
Be card safe. Guard your cards as carefully as you would in the UK, as fraud is as prevalent overseas as it is at home and lack of care could spoil a lovely holiday.
Check your statements when you get home to ensure that no ‘extra’ – ie fraudulent - spending was made on your card.
Take the details of your card provider with you along with an emergency number in case the unthinkable should happen and your card does go missing.