Financial Solutions from Cards to Cash For Your Next Travel Plan

When traveling overseas, your cash reserves and finances can get complicated and expensive if you are not prepared. From travellers’ cheques to credit cards, it is important to determine which of these best suits your requirements while abroad. Save time, save money and always have access to cash during your international journeys.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Foreign Currency

When you are planning an international trip, it is important to prepare with access to the right financial options. While on holiday, struggling to pay for items, transport or accommodation can quickly turn an exciting trip into a nightmare. Preparing with the necessary cash on hand and financial backups wherever you go can prevent leaving you in dire financial circumstances.

Foreign currency when traveling abroad is a must. This does not mean emptying your savings account but certainly requires cash on hand to purchase meals, water and pay for transport or fuel with a rental car. While cash on hand is easy and convenient, it can leave some feeling unsettled and vulnerable. Fortunately, there are cash alternatives to make your journey safe and memorable for all the right reasons.

Depending on where you are going in the world, always learn of the foreign currency regulations issued by that country or state. For travels in non-EU countries and the UK, you will have to declare any cash and cheques of €10 000 or more.

Options to Purchase International Funds From:

  • Conventional lenders/banks
  • A formal travel agent
  • Foreign exchange brokerage service
  • Certified online financial services
  • Approved stores
  • Post offices

Steps for Managing Foreign Currency

Avoid purchasing your foreign currency at an airport. You will pay higher exchange rates.

Take some time to plan your travels well in advance. This allows you to shop around for the most affordable currency and exchange rate deals.

Assess the charges involved. You could pay up to £5 just to collect your new currency. Consult with your financial provider to negotiate a lower fee or waive it. Most providers will require a specific amount for foreign currency be purchased to waive the extra fee.

Is it Safe to Use Cash?

Foreign currency in small sums is important for quick and essential purchases. For accommodation and souvenirs among other things, credit cards and travellers cheques are the safest. Be sure to look into insurance cover to provide compensation if your cash is stolen or lost. Read the terms and conditions of your insurance policy so you remain clear of what you are covered for.

Best prepare for your international travels with a small amount of foreign currency as cash on hand and then include travellers’ cheques and your cards as backup and for larger purchases.

How to Use Cards when Traveling Internationally

Cards are simple to use, convenient, safe and with more advanced technologies and recognized providers, more global destinations are accepting payments from major providers. The use of approved cards is most efficient and cost effective in settling payments.

It is important to note that card fraud is ride across the globe. Always keep your card and your pin safe!

Never allow salespersons or assistants to leave with your card for a payment. Always check refund policies to ensure you can return goods that are unsatisfactory.

Which Cards Can I use While Abroad?

Debit Cards

Debit cards are flexible and sound financial options that make it easier to draw cash from an ATM and work similarly to the way it’s used in your home country.

Benefits and Limitations

Benefit

Fast and easy way to withdraw cash from an ATM

Limitations

Unfortunately, not all countries have ATM’s for cash withdrawal.

You will be charged an extra 2% on your purchases and a transaction fee of £1.50 apart from additional exchange rates.

The Safety of a Debit Card

A debit card includes fraud protection. Unauthorized purchases should be compensated for by your provider.

Credit Cards

Undoubtedly the most popular choice of funds for travel and the most economical too.

Benefits

  • Globally recognized and accepted by most countries
  • Depending on your provider and card type, you will not have to cover high rates and extra charges for international payments.
  • If your card is stolen or you buy damaged goods, it should be covered by the financial provider.

Limitations

  • You may expect fees of up to 3% when making a purchase.
  • If you use credit cards for cash withdrawals while abroad, you will be charged a high fee for interest.
  • Be sure to settle the card debts by the end of the month to prevent high card charges.
  • It is best to carry cash with you for additional, smaller charges as issued by the retailer.

Should You Use a Pre-Paid Card Along International Travels?

Simple and safe, the pre-paid card is a popular choice compared to a travel cheque. You place the desired finances on the card and spend without worrying about fees, interest and penalties.

Benefits

  • The card keeps you within budget
  • The versatility of cards helps you load various currencies for the countries you are visiting.
  • You may be able to use your card in the UK if you do not spend it all.

Limitations

  • Expect a fee if withdrawing at an ATM for an international top-up
  • Certain providers issue fees if cards are not used within a specified period.
  • Pay up to £10 for a replacement card if lost.
  • The Safety of Using Pre-Paid cards
  • These cards are not linked to your personal banking account and without fees for every transaction, it could be the best way to go.

Travellers Cheques

These fixed financial options allow you to exchange goods for cash without cards or banking details.

  • A travellers cheque is signed by you.
  • It works similarly to regular bank cheques when making payments in your home town.
  • Always keep your passport with you as proof of purchasing the cheques.
  • Buy items with your cheque and receive change in the designated currency.

Benefits

  • Stay within budget
  • Great to avoid carrying excess cash in your wallet

Limitations

  • Extra work required to find exchange agents when you need to exchange the cheque for cash.
  • A fee and personal commissioning of each cheque is required before authorization.

Safety of Travellers Cheques

The traveller cheque can be used virtually anywhere in the world and replaced in a day if lost. Be sure to manage receipts for all purchases, do not sign until it is going to be used, and keep a copy of all serial numbers for cheques.

Find Value in Your Options for Travel Finances

  • Combine the various payment options along your international travels.
  • Purchase currencies from authorized lenders and avoid late airport exchanges to save on fees.
  • Maintain card details and company contact information in case of losses or problems.
  • Find credit card providers who waive fees for international transactions.
  • Be sure to settle your travel debt to your card every month and on time to maintain a positive credit score!

Source: moneyadviceservice.org.uk

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