New Credit Cards Overseas

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 6:55am

Chris Clackum explains the newest changes to the way credit cards work overseas.

If you're planning to travel overseas this year and it's been awhile since you've been there, there have been a few changes in the way you pay for things when it comes to using plastic.

Much of Europe has gone to the "chip and pin" credit card.

A chip on the card's face replaces the magnetic strip, and the cardholder manually enters a pin number instead of a signature to complete the transaction.

"They moved toward this because they believe it's more secure and a lot of times it is more secure, but what happens when you travel abroad you can get into a little trouble," said Catey Hill of

She suggests avoiding that trouble by always having some local currency handy, or do business only where U.S. cards are accepted.

But remember, most card companies charge foreign transaction fees.

"A lot of credit cards will charge 2-3% for foreign transactions, which means you're getting nickeled and dimed by your credit card company," said Hill.

The exception, she says, is the Capitol One Venture card, which doesn't charge those fees and has a cash-back plan.

She also says, now more than ever, banks are on the lookout for unusual transactions in far off places.

"They'll put a freeze on your account for a lot of irregular activity, which often happens on vacation, because you're on vacation and you might spend more," Hill explained.

So keep your card company posted on where you're going and for how long.

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