Q: Can you recommend a good card for visiting or living outside of the U.S.A.? Can I avoid foreign transaction fees? Will my information be safe?
If you're old enough to remember Karl Malden's American Express commercials, traveling abroad may still inspire visions of getting ripped off in a crowded town square. However, your account information tends to stay more secure in countries that have adopted next-generation credit card technology. When combined with emergency travel assistance benefits, the right credit card can help you enjoy your travel even more.
If a card has an annual fee remember that some banks charge as much as 5 percent for the privilege of real-time currency conversion and overseas fraud detection. So be sure to factor in the annual fee and if the cost is offset by what you would save in foreign transaction fees. Also keep in mind an issuer may promote travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, however the lack of an EMV chip could force you into an expensive ATM cash advance if a merchant refuses to swipe your card's magnetic strip.
Before you leave the United States, remember to request your personal identification number for credit card transactions in Europe and in other parts of the world that have adopted "chip-and-PIN" security. Your bank will not usually be able to establish your PIN once you're on the road.
- I use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa for personal and business flights. For everything else, I use Visa US Bank Flexperks card. I pay off my bill every month, have good credit and I fly a lot. Is there a reason I should switch from US Bank Flexperks to a difference rewards card such as American Express?
- I want to get rid of my Sony Visa card and move to another rewards credit card. I'm thinking about airline credit cards, probably American Airlines, since I live in Dallas. I have a Starwood AmEx already, and I have very good to excellent credit. Thoughts?
- I pay off my bill every month. I really want miles for travel. What card is best for that without blackout dates?