Things to Consider When Carrying Money Abroad

Posted by on December 9, 2014

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You need to be financially ready when visiting another country. Money abroad comes in various forms. Other than cash, there is the debit or ATM card, credit card, and traveler’s check or check cards. Here are some things you must consider when carrying money overseas.

Cash

Cash proves useful for making initial transactions especially if you still have to locate the nearest bank or ATM. The advantage of cash are obvious: used to cover immediate expenses such as buying food at the airport or paying taxi fare towards your hotel. This is especially true if the country or city you are visiting is not that urbanized.

The downside of cash (foreign currency) is that conversion rate is usually low, and bringing cash puts you at high risk for pickpocket and theft.

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Debit/ATM Card

Once you’ve found an ATM or bank, you can readily use your debit card to acquire cash in the currency of the country you are visiting. You’ll enjoy favorable interbank exchange rate for cash withdrawals just like using credit card. Debit or ATM card is the most convenient and cheapest way to get cash.

However, each time you withdraw cash, you are subject to conversion fees and service charges. Also, you don’t much protection for lost cards.

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Credit Card

Credit cards offer good level of protection to cardholders, and are great for large purchases. They likewise offer the best conversion rates. Some credit cards don’t even impose extra charge for international purchases.

The downside is that some establishments may not accept credit cards or other forms of payment besides cash. Also, credit cards have very high finance charge and late payment fees.

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Traveler’s Check and Check Card

These remain useful as emergency backup for your debit card and credit card. It is way better than cash in terms of protection because they can be replaced immediately with lost or stolen.

The disadvantage of traveler’s check or check card is that they don’t offer great interbank rate. There are also charges to pay such as commission, shipping fees and conversion charges.

Perhaps the best thing when travelling abroad is to bring a good level of cash, and then supplement it with debit card, credit card or traveler’s check. Upon heading home, use up foreign coins because banks buy only foreign paper currency. Also keep exchange receipts for future reference.

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Photos by: SteFou!Swirekeio and Bryan Rosengrant

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