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Best credit cards to use abroad

By Jenny Ross

Article 6 of 6

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Best credit cards to use abroad

Regularly travel abroad? Find out everything you need to know about using a credit card to pay while you're overseas.

Why take a credit card abroad?

If you regularly travel abroad, you may want to get a dedicated credit card to use on your trips.

Not only will it be more convenient and safer than carrying piles of cash, the best ones let you spend overseas at a great exchange rate, and without incurring any fees. 

But choose carefully, as some cards could prove a costly travel companion.

Which? Money compare: compare the rates on credit cards to use abroad, and see how well providers score for customer service

Costs to use your credit card abroad

Unless you take out a specialist credit card, you could face a range of charges for using your plastic overseas:


Check with your card provider to find out exactly what charges it applies if you use your credit card to pay overseas.

Best credit cards to use overseas

There are some credit cards that don't charge any fees for overseas transactions and cash machine withdrawals.

These include the Barclaycard Platinum Travel card, Creation Everyday card, Halifax Clarity card, and Santander Zero card.

Even with a card that doesn't charge a fee for overseas cash machine withdrawals, you may still want to avoid taking money out. This is because you'll typically incur interest straight away (Barclaycard's Platinum Travel card is an exception).

If you're organised and pay off your credit card really quickly, you can prevent these charges racking up. But this may be a hassle you'd rather avoid.

Pros and cons of using a credit card overseas

Pros:

  • Credit cards are ideal for paying for things where money will be 'ring-fenced' on your account as a deposit, such as hotel bookings or car hire.
  • Purchases of more than £100 and up to £30,000 benefit from protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if something is wrong with a product or service you've paid for on your credit card, you can reclaim the money from your credit card provider if the retailer can't or won't make it right.
  • If you are a victim of fraud, your provider is required by the Consumer Credit Act to refund you the money that was taken, unless it can prove that you authorised the payment.

Cons:

  • Your card may be blocked if you don't tell your card company about your travel plans.
  • There is a small risk of harming your credit rating if you use your credit card for ATM withdrawals.
  • Last updated: November 2017
  • Updated by: Jenny Ross
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