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What do I need to know before using my US credit or debit card overseas?

Fees : There are few, if any, overseas transactions that do not incur fees. Be sure to check with your bank for fees such as foreign transaction fees, ATM fees and others. If you own multiple cards, check the fees for each of them as fees differ even between cards issued by the same institution. Fees also change, so check just prior to your trip.

Acceptance : Credit and debit card acceptance varies by country. So, it can be helpful to check how widely accepted they are at your destination in order to prepare yourself with alternative forms of payment if needed.

Plan B : Cash is still king and, while there may be ATMs readily available for withdrawing cash, there will also be a daily limit on how much you can withdraw as well as fees associated with the transactions. Traveler's checks may be a good option, especially if you can purchase them without or at low cost.

last updated 2008.09.02
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