Families getting ready to pack for their summer break abroad are being are being advised to read the latest the latest guidelines on using their charge cards overseas.
The UK Cards Association has released its latest advice for Britons on using debit and credit cards when travelling.
Figures show that a grand total of £25 billion was spent outside the UK – charged to debit and credit cards last year – with British tourists placing a whopping £15 billion of that on debit cards.
The UK Cards Association recommends that, in many cases, using debit and credit cards are both the safest and cheapest option when abroad, particularly when compared to money exchange rates.
And importantly, credit cards also provide legal protection to consumers on credit card purchases over £100, which cash cannot offer.
Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, credit card users can be fully reimbursed if: “What they bought turns out to be faulty; the retailer fails to properly fulfil their contract; the company they bought the product or service from doesn’t deliver what it has promised.”
In addition, improved transparency on credit and debit cards – introduced last year – ensures that customers are even better informed about the cost of using their cards abroad.
Melanie Johnson, Chair of The UK Cards Association, said: “Many consumers often forget the added protection and great value they can get from using credit and debit cards on holiday.
“People can wrongly assume that cash is better, but the flexibility, convenience and safety that credit and debit cards offer make it the ideal payment method abroad.
“Unlike cash, if your card is lost or stolen and you’re a victim of card fraud, you will get your money back. With recent transparency improvements, consumers are now also more informed on the costs of using their credit and debit cards abroad.”
The UK Cards Association’s top tips for using your credit and debit cards overseas are:
Some tips to bear in mind before you go:
- Check your card company’s charges for overseas purchases and cash withdrawals, for both debit and credit cards. Check the exchange rates charged for local currency at your destination, so you know the best – and cheapest – way to get cash.
- When you are abroad, you may find that local retailers or cash machines give you the choice of paying in your home currency or the local currency. If you pay in your home currency, make sure the exchange rate is competitive. If you are in any doubt, pay the bill in the local currency as it will generally be cheaper.
- Before you jet off to your timeshare resort it’s a good idea to only take cards with you that you intend to use and make sure you have your card company’s 24-hour contact telephone number. Make sure your card company has up-to-date contact details for you, including a mobile phone number.
- While you’re soaking up that sunshine abroad, a few things to remember. Firstly, don’t let your card out of your sight, especially when using it in restaurants and bars. And shield your PIN with your free hand when typing it into a keypad in a shop or at a cash machine.
- When you get home, check your card statements carefully for unfamiliar transactions. If there are any that look suspicious or you don’t remember, report them to your card company immediately to prevent any potential fraud on your debit or credit card.