NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Traveling with your Credit Card

            Traveling With Your Credit Card

            The new credit card rules that went into effect the end of February meant many more safe guards for consumers.  The sub-group of consumers who travel frequently will see some major changes in how they are and are not protected when traveling.

-         Increase in fees for foreign transactions

            Most consumers believe that if they purchase something in foreign currency, their credit card company will charge them in dollars.  While that part is true, another step in the process is your credit card company charging an additional percentage for managing this exchange. Some credit card companies have drastically increased these percentages from single to double diget fees.   In the past, consumers who made online purchases from foreign businesses were generally not charge these additional exchange fees – that is also changing.

ATM fees

            Using an ATM machine in a foreign country may incur double charges on your credit card.  You may pay anywhere from 3-4 % for a cash advance and another 3-4 A% for the foreign currency fee.  These fees are often not broken down on your creditcard statement so remember to read the fine print.

Good-bye Frequent Flyers

            Many consumers have taken advantage of  programs where you earned points for store discounts, frequent flyer programs, etc.   Those type of programs are going to become less available and more restrictive for those that do exist. New restrictions might include the points programs being available only to those consumers who pay an annual fee for their card or if you are late with one payment, your points disappear.

 Higher priced luxury card programs

            If you have an above and beyond the basics credit card, the annual fee for you card may be increasing drastically.  Previous fees of $75 for luxury cards will probably move into the $100 range.  It will be up to you to read the fine print of your credit card agreement, and determine if the benefits you are enjoying – such as extended warranties on electronics –are worth the extra fee.

 Fewer free benefits

            Unless you live to read fine print, most of us are not aware of the free benefits already are  part of our credit cards. Collision damage for auto accidents is a common benefit on almost all higher level credit cards.  Theft or accidental damage to a purchase for 90days after purchase is another common benefit.  Providing an 800 number to call in case of an emergency is another one.  As most consumers do not use these benefits on a regular, if every basis, it is comparatively painless for the credit card company to remove them.

.           Travelers will not double have mixed reactions to these changes, depending on how much they are willing to pay and how often they travel.  Add to the “to-do” list before traveling –read your credit card statement.

 

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