Tips While Traveling Abroad: Using Your Debit or Credit Card

Heading abroad for a travel and adventure?  In addition to your sunscreen and travel guides, you may want some tips on credit and debit card usage. You can save time, headaches and money with these tips for when you are using your cards internationally.

Let card issuers know you’ll be traveling.

To avoid triggering a fraud alert, let your bank or card issuer know where you will be traveling and how long you’ll be there. The last thing you want to worry about on your trip is having a legitimate travel transaction declined because your card issuer thinks someone stole your card.

How this tip applies to State Bank of Cross Plains cardholders:

Contact us to let us know about your travels. Call (855) 256-7328 if you plan on traveling with your State Bank of Cross Plains Visa Debit or Visa Credit Card.

Test your cards.

Be sure to test your debit or credit cards before leaving the country, and make sure you have a four-digit PIN for your Debit/ATM card.

Conduct credit card transactions in local currency.

When you make a purchase at a foreign retailer or restaurant, they will sometimes give you the option to put the charge through in U.S. dollars instead of in the local currency. This practice is called dynamic currency conversion (DCC) or cardholder preferred currency.

Although DCC may seem like a good option because you won’t have to calculate the currency conversion, there is a downside. Merchants can set their own conversion exchange rate when you opt for DCC. And when they set their own rate, that rate often includes a hefty mark-up to your total bill. Some merchants charge as much as 7% for this conversion service, and you’ll still pay any applicable Visa or MasterCard foreign transaction fees on top of that merchant markup.

How to avoid foreign conversion fees when using State Bank of Cross Plains cards overseas:

  • If a merchant asks if you want your transaction to be processed in U.S. dollars, you should decline, then ask them to process the transaction in their local currency.
  • When using an ATM in a foreign country, you may be asked if you want a guaranteed conversion rate or if you want to be charged in U.S. dollars. Select the option to proceed with the ATM transaction without a conversion (i.e., in Euros or other local currency).
  • Use a card that does not charge added fees.

Visa charges a 1% International Service Assessment (ISA) fee on transactions made while traveling abroad. But many banks charge additional fees on top of the ISA fee. These bank fees can range from 2–3% on every transaction.

How this tip applies to State Bank of Cross Plains cardholders:

  • State Bank of Cross Plains debit and credit cards do not add any additional fees on top of the Visa ISA fee, but the 1% Visa ISA fee is added to each international transaction.

Be prepared in case of theft.

Although, the majority of travelers don’t have any issues with theft, it never hurts to be prepared.

Before your trip, find out if there is a special contact number for calling your card company from outside the U.S. Keep that contact number(s) – along with a copy of your passport and the cards you’ve brought with you on your trip – in a secure place separate from your wallet. That way, if your wallet or purse is stolen, you’ll have the information you need to report the theft quickly.

Bring a backup credit or debit card in case your card is lost, stolen or frozen because of suspicious activity.

How this tip applies to State Bank of Cross Plains cardholders:

To call State Bank of Cross Plains from abroad, use (571) 526-3961 for Credit and (973) 682-2652 for debit.

Locate Visa ATMs before your trip 

Use the Visa global ATM locator to find Visa-compatible ATMs at your destination. You can filter the results to show airport locations so you can get local currency right away to pay your cab from the airport.

On that note, fees can make ATM withdrawals quite pricey.  Try to limit the number of withdrawals you make during the trip.  Rather than withdrawing cash every day, make one or two larger withdrawals per week. 

How this tip applies to State Bank of Cross Plains cardholders:

  • If you withdraw money from the ATM using your State Bank of Cross Plains debit card you will be charged an ATM fee of $2.50 in addition to ATM terminal fee determined by the owner.
  • If you withdraw money from the ATM using your State Bank of Cross Plains credit card you will be charged the Cash Advance fee of $10 or 3% of the amount of each advance, whichever is greater.

Contact one of our Personal Bankers today to learn more about our credit card services.

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