Back in the day, vacations overseas meant travelers checks and currency exchange for every transaction. Luckily today, your credit card can save you a lot of hassle abroad. While you're seamlessly charging just like at home, however, make sure you're staying smart about your contracts: Credit card companies can skim a lot from your account in foreign transaction fees.
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This week, CompareCards released its most recent list of best travel credit cards. MarketWatch reports that more than half of all credit cards include a foreign transaction fee, which on averages comes to 2.61 percent of each purchase. This can add up, especially when combined with your bank's out-of-network ATM fees.
You don't have to budget for these surprises for your big vacation, though. CompareCards also rates credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. Some hot spots, like Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, and London, are leading the way in cashless spending. But if you do need to stock up on cash for more reliant destinations like Mexico City, Lagos, and Phnom Penh, head for your own bank, whether at home pre-trip or at an international branch.
It's not a bad idea to make a big withdrawal when you're abroad, to minimize fees. Pre-planning is key to staying within your budget, but you don't have to obsess about it. Do your research, and if you and your friends love to travel, tell them too. More than half of credit card holders don't know about foreign transaction fees, so now's the time to get ahead of the pack.