What is the best way to pay for things while abroad?
posted in Calforex Blog
This is a question we get asked a lot. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Using your credit card is a convenient way to pay for things like hotels and car rentals, but it may not always be practical for smaller, every-day purchases. Taxis, street markets, cafes, some retail outlets and even restaurants might require you to pay cash, so it’s always a good idea to have some on hand.
In most places, using an ATM is a good way to obtain cash, as long your card is linked to one of the interbank networks available. Your bank will usually charge you an international withdrawal fee anywhere from $3 – $5 in addition to the 2% – 2.5% on top of the interbank exchange rate. The bank ATM you use will usually charge you a fee as well.
It also depends on where you travel. There are some places that are considered to be cash-based societies, meaning that the most accepted form of payment will be cash and it is really only the larger hotels and big retailers that accept credit cards. Even Japan, which is known to be a highly advanced country, is considered to be a cash-based society. (Canada is considered to be a cashless society.)
- Check to see what forms of payment are commonly accepted at your destination.
- If you plan on using your credit or debit cards abroad, make sure to contact your bank to let them know you are traveling so they don’t freeze your cards.
- Always bring enough cash to get you started (so you can start enjoying your trip as soon as you arrive), for instances where you can’t use your card, and for backup so you don’t get stuck.
- No matter what form of payment you are using, always pay in the local currency. Dynamic Currency Conversion yields a less favorable exchange rate.