As you make travel plans this summer, be sure to pack the plastic. Credit cards are a convenient tool to finance your trip. To make the most of them, it’s best to keep a few factors in mind. Here’s what you need to know before you go.
As you prepare for the trip, take a look at the credit cards you have. If you plan to travel abroad, consider carrying cards that are widely accepted, such as Visa or MasterCard. Taking along two credit cards is wise; this way, if one of the cards is not accepted, you have a backup.
Most credit card companies and issuers charge fees for international purchases. This expense, which covers the fees incurred for currency conversion, is usually 2-3% of the purchase amount. To find out how much you will be charged, call your credit card company and ask before you leave. In most cases, the fees you will have to pay will be less than what you would spend exchanging dollars or cashing in traveler’s checks. This is because when you use a credit card, you usually receive the best exchange rate available.
A common problem for those traveling abroad involves purchases being blocked. This occurs because the international activity sets off a fraud alarm. For your safety, the credit card company does not allow the transaction. To avoid this potential dilemma, inform the company of your travel plans before you leave. They can make a note on your account that allows foreign transactions to go through.
Finally, before you travel, send an email to yourself. Include the toll-free number for customer service at the credit card company. This way, if the card gets lost or stolen, you can access your email and call the company immediately to stop any account activity. Be a Smart Traveler Even after proper planning, you will still want to be careful when traveling with credit cards. Make sure all purchase transactions are done in your presence. Most restaurants and hotels will process the card in a public place in order to avoid fraudulent activity. Pay with cash if you have any doubts.
If the credit card transaction does not go through, call the company right away. Occasionally, a purchase will be blocked for security reasons, even after informing the company of your trip. If you speak with a representative, the hold can be released on the card. This can be done within a few minutes, allowing you to make the purchase.
Should your card get lost or stolen, report it immediately. You will only be responsible for up to $50 in unauthorized purchases. In some cases, you won’t have to pay anything.
If you need to, you can use the credit card for cash advances. But remember that fees for these transactions can add up fast. If you will be unable to pay off the advance quickly, you may want to look into a different plan.
By preparing properly and taking safety precautions, you can travel easily with a credit card. They are more convenient than traveler’s checks. And they offer you more protection than cash, which disappears if it gets stolen. By using a credit card, you can enjoy the many benefits of carrying plastic on your trip.
Rewards credit cards reward cardholders for using the card. In essence, the issuer offers you a financial incentive to buy and use them. The incentive is offered in terms of rebates, store discounts, points that can be redeemed for specific purposes and airline flyer miles.
Choosing the rewards credit card that offers the rewards best suited to your needs is using your credit and your finances optimally.
Frequent Flyer Miles
It makes good sense for frequent air travelers to use a reward credit card that offers frequent flyer miles as a reward. These credit cards offer you points based on the amount of money you spend and the amount of airline miles you may purchase using that card. The best rewards credit cards offer you bonus points after initial purchases. If you have good credit, you can easily get a rewards credit card with a 0% introductory APR.
Cash Back Rewards
Cash back rewards give you bonus cash each time you use the rewards credit card at supermarkets, gas stations, etc. That way your rewards credit card gives you the option to spend the money as you please. The best rewards credit cards give up to 5% cash back and a 0% APR for up to 12 months. And to qualify for this type of card offer, you’ll need to have pretty good credit.
Some rewards credit cards give you the benefit of choice. You can choose either frequent flyer miles or cash back depending on your preference.
The very best rewards credit cards give you up to 6% back on purchases and gas rebates. But those offers are few and far between. Very good travel insurance, accident insurance and auto rental insurance are some of the other perks you can expect.
Entertainment Focused Rewards Credit Cards
Some credit cards cater to people who frequent movie halls, restaurants and generally go out a lot. Special offers and promotions are also offered to the owners of these rewards credit cards. Backstage passes, free music downloads and guest benefits are only some of the ways owners of this type of rewards credit card will benefit.
When applying for rewards credit cards remember that the best rewards credit cards are unique for each individual. Remember to take into account carrying costs of the card as well as details like the method of calculating interest. With the right homework and the right rewards credit card you may find yourself being able to take that perfect vacation…
Now that summer’s here you may be getting ready for that long awaited European vacation. Have you checked to be sure you have the right travel credit card? Although using credit cards are best when you travel, you need to be sure you’ve selected the best credit card for overseas use.
If you’re getting ready to travel, you need to take care of a few matters regarding your credit card before you leave. You should check with your credit card issuer about fees or charges when using the card outside of the U.S. Many of the financial institutions charge additional fees for foreign transactions, such as three percent when converted to U.S. dollars.
It is recommended that while you have your bank on the line, you advise them of the dates you’ll be traveling and the countries you will be in. If they don’t know you’re out of the country and start getting charges from Paris, they may cancel your account until you contact them.
You should take credit cards from two banks. If there’s a problem and one bank cancels your credit card while you’re traveling, if the two cards are from the same institution they would cancel both. The second card could just be a back-up. It’s best to use just one credit card as it’s easier to keep track of your spending.
Seasoned travelers recommend when vacationing in Europe, you use a debit card for getting local currency. Cash machines are common throughout Europe and you can go to any ATM machine and get cash back. The drawback with this is that there are quite often limits of the amount of cash you can withdraw at one time. You may also want to set-up with your financial institution in advance, a daily allowance of the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from your debit card just in case it is lost or stolen.
With the debit card, there is a fee for each transaction. So you wouldn’t want to use the debit credit card in place of a credit card as you might do here in the U.S., as each charge would generate an added fee. You can keep the debit card just to replenish your cash. It is suggested you have enough cash on hand, as there are times when a credit card sign is posted at the door at say a restaurant, but when the bill comes they don’t accept that card.
Use caution while traveling of being too liberal when using your credit card number. Keep your travel credit cards and your debit credit card in a safe place. Keep all receipts so that you can verify the charges upon your return. Maintain your pin number in a safe place. Be sure you have the financial institution’s phone numbers just in case you lose your credit card.
Now that you have your travel credit card and debit card information, it’s time to make those final plans and start packing. Oh, ……and don’t forget to take lots of pictures and have fun!
The competition among credit card companies is intensifying by the day and in order to beat the competition, card issuers are coming up with new offers and incentives to entice customers each and every day. Reward credit cards have gradually evolved in this race for survival among credit card issuers and banks. Why would reward credit cards, which were once issued only to the loyal customers of a credit card company, be promoted and distributed in such large numbers? Well, market conditions have pressured credit card issuers into providing newer more compelling credit card offers, allowing the common man on the street to gain immensely from the newest and best reward credit cards currently available. This article will describe the various types of reward credit cards, features, benefits, tips for use, and things to watch out for maximum advantage.
In essence, reward credit cardholders are entitled to receive rewards based on the points he or she gains through their card purchases over time. The most common types of reward credit cards seen in the marketplace are air miles credit cards and cash back credit cards.
Air miles credit cards provide air miles for each dollar spent using the card and allow the user to redeem the accumulated miles for hotel accommodations, air travel or car rentals. Such offers are especially beneficial for those who are frequent fliers. Cash back credit cards typically give back a set percentage of total purchases as a cash rebate based on the total bill, either monthly or annually.
Who Should Be Using a Reward Credit Card?
Although the credit card companies are undoubtedly aiming to profit from every type of credit card they roll out in the market, one can expect some economic advantages behind the reward credit cards for consumers as well. Reward benefits for cardholders are usually offset by higher interest rates and additional fees and surcharges that exceed what a normal credit card might incur. Reward credit cards are best suited for individuals that can confidently pay off their card balance each and every month so as not to incur finance charges by carrying a balance. The points that you earn from your purchases can be built up progressively but are better suited to individuals or businesses that use their cards often and are probably not best for those who use credit cards very sparsely primarily because by the time the cardholder builds up enough points for a viable reward redemption, many times, the expiration date on those points will have already expired.
Tips for Use
So if you do plan on acquiring a reward credit card, to get the most out of the card, you should try to use it extensively, including virtually every bill you pay, including electricity and gas bills, phone service expenses, weekly grocery shopping, and internet and cable TV, etc. If you are financially sound enough to make the repayments in time, there are even some reward credit cards that will allow you to charge your mortgage or rent payment on your card.
Also, it is a good idea to apply for an add-on card for your spouse and distribute the spending on both. This way the customer could gain more bonus points for the same expenditure and hence better rewards.
To sum it up, the trick is quite simple, use your reward credit card as often as possible (well within your repayment ability, of course), always pay off the card balance at the end of each month, and reap the reward benefits.
Finally, before concluding, a word of advice; prior to applying for a reward credit card, do a bit of research to see which companies are offering the best reward credit cards and which among them is the most advantageous for your personal situation. The Internet provides a wealth of information on various card types and offers so be sure to utilize the information available online. A little bit of homework will make all the difference in your reward credit cards selection.
Sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity claim to offer the best price – sometimes even guaranteed. They may even claim to offer the best rates on a luxury world cruise, a trip that travel wholesalers publicly prefer to be sold by agents. The emergence of online travel sites have put many agencies out of business, and claim to have conquered the consumer base by offering quality product at a lower cost. When you call your local travel agency and ask for a price quote on an air and hotel luxury travel vacation package, most consumers will check against one of the more popular travel websites to see what prices better. True, two thirds of the time, you will find that the Internet will beat the travel agent price by about $150. The travel website will assure you that it is the same package. The resorts and hotels are aware that you are going to be in the most unfavorable rooms, in fact, that is why they sold them to the Internet travel site at a discounted rate in the first place.
Travel service sites proudly proclaim that they are able to further save customers money by selling large volumes of travel and collecting a smaller fee. Orbitz and Travelocity do have a large volume of travel reservations made, but what little they make in commission they make back in changed or canceled reservations. Most travel agencies offer a travel insurance that covers you and your travel companions if you should have to cancel for a medical or personal emergency.
American Express Travel offers a cancel for any reason insurance that even covers your airline tickets. These Internet booking engines are now beginning to offer “insurance,” but it rarely covers cancellations in full. Your local travel agent is there to offer the customer care you need back at home while you’re traveling abroad. When it comes to planning luxury travel vacation, you are truly better off using a travel agent. If you don’t like your room, your travel agent can have it fixed in a matter of moments. Travel agents are not focused on quantity, but quality. So travel safe, not sorry, and call a travel agent to hear more benefits that each agency offers their clients