Best Travel Credit Cards

Getting ready for family vacations and traveling abroad? Before you hop on that plane, consider these tips on when it’s better to use your debit or credit card for travel. Taking a little time to plan ahead before traveling may help you save lots of money – and headaches!

To start off, we recommend bringing at least three different cards when traveling – two credit cards and one debit card. This practice is helpful in case your primary card is lost, stolen or frozen due to suspected fraud.

Here’s some tips to determine when it is best to use a credit card or debit card when traveling.

Use CREDIT CARDS for:

Hotel and car rentals. When making hotel or car rental reservations, a hold on funds is usually placed on your card. At a hotel, a hold may include the room rate, taxes and possible incidentals. A hold placed on your credit card will not affect the availability of funds in your personal checking account as it would with a debit card.

Added anti-fraud protection.

Visa or MasterCard will reimburse any transactions you didn’t authorize. If the fraud is on your debit card, it could affect the availability of funds for your other prescheduled payments such as rent, mortgage, insurance, etc. Be sure to set up real-time transaction alerts with mobile card controls to stop fraud in its tracks, and be sure to report your lost or stolen card immediately.

Minimizing foreign transaction fees.

Visa and MasterCard add 1 percent fees onto foreign transactions in a foreign currency. Many financial institutions mark up this fee to as high as 3 percent, while some waive it all together. Fees are most often waived on credit cards.

Travel rewards, discounts and perks.

Unless you travel frequently, cards with travel rewards may not offer you the best value because of their high annual fees and Annual Percentage Rates (APR). You may find that a cash-back card or one with a lower APR may offer the best fit. Some cards offer additional perks such as rental car insurance, late hotel checkouts, airline lounge access and free or discounted medical travel insurance.

Use DEBIT CARDS for access to cash.

Fees are likely to be higher at the ATM if you use a credit card because of the cash advance fees, which can be as high as 5 percent of the transaction. It’s also common that higher Annual Percentage Rates are assessed for cash transactions. Therefore, it’s better to use your debit card at the ATM.

It’s best to notify your financial institution of your travel plans ahead of time to keep your card from temporarily being blocked. For foreign travel, provide every country where you plan to use your card, including layovers, to help ensure your transactions won’t appear suspicious.

To make for a smoother trip, it helps to know which situations are better to use your credit card or debit card when traveling. If you’re ever unsure or have questions about fees, always check with your financial institution before you leave for vacation.

 

About HSFCU Marketing

Hawaii State FCU firmly believes that financial education empowers people to make smarter decisions throughout their lives, resulting in a better financial future. We do this by providing useful financial tools such as educational blogs, online courses and free webinars on a variety of topics including planning for retirement, debt management and buying a home. For more information on these and other resources, including free financial calculators and budget-friendly recipes, visit www.HawaiiStateFCU.com and click on “Financial Health.”

Related Posts

Photo of the word SCAM on a laptop screen warning the user

How to Recognize the Signs – Don’t Become a Phishing Victim

in Fraud
Image of an elderly man on the phone while holding a credit card.

World Elder Abuse Awareness – Financial Tips for Seniors

in Fraud
Third Party Site Disclaimer

We may provide links to external websites that refer to third party services and products available to Hawaii State FCU members, for enrollment in Hawaii State FCU financial education webinars, or other purposes. Please review the terms and conditions of use carefully. We do not make any express or implied representation or warranty to you concerning the quality, safety or suitability of external websites, or their services, products, or contents. External websites are not under our control and may have different security, privacy and other. Using the links may identify you as a Hawaii State FCU member to the external website operator.  Services and products from third parties are not obligations of, nor endorsed or guaranteed by, Hawaii State FCU nor the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.  Alternative services and products may be obtained from other providers of your choice.

Click “ACCEPT” to enter an external website. Click “Cancel” to return to HSFCU’s website.

Please remember to log off of Online Banking and Mobile Banking before going to any external website.

Cancel Accept