Today’s world offers a number of alternatives to traveler’s checks, options that you may find faster, easier and more convenient.
Here are a few to consider when comparing your options:
Carrying a credit card can be easier than carrying traveler’s checks. In addition, credit cards can be useful for making large, online travel purchases such as airline tickets and hotel reservations.
Some credit cards may also have benefits that can be helpful while you travel. they can include things like credit card fraud protection and the ability to use a mobile app to track your purchases.
Please note that foreign transaction fees may come into play when using your credit card abroad. While this fee can vary between credit card companies, it could generally be between 1% and 3% of your purchase. you may also be charged a currency conversion fee. Often this fee is part of your foreign transaction fee.
Some companies do not charge fees for foreign transactions. For example, none of the credit cards issued in the US. uu. capital one charges this fee.
If you are traveling with your credit card, your credit card issuer may want to receive an alert before you travel. That’s because it could flag your purchases as fraudulent if it detects purchases made from an unknown location. Thanks to the added security of your chip card, capital one does not require this notification.
When you travel, a debit card can be as easy to carry as a credit card. and like a credit card, it can help protect against fraud.
The big difference: A credit card allows you to “borrow” money for purchases, while a debit card is used to make purchases with the money in your checking account.
It can be helpful to carry a debit card when visiting a country that generally favors cash transactions. In that case, you can use your debit card at an ATM to get cash once you’ve reached your destination. and that can be safer than carrying cash and exchanging it for local currency once you’ve arrived.
Please note that you may be charged ATM fees when using a debit card abroad. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), some banks and credit unions do not charge customers a fee to use their ATMs. but you may be charged if you’re not a customer, and that could be in addition to a fee charged by the ATM operator.
Also note that some banks may charge a foreign transaction fee when you make purchases abroad with a debit card. you may also be charged a currency conversion fee; often this fee is included in the foreign transaction fee.
However, some banks do not charge fees for foreign transactions. for example, capital one does not charge this fee for its 360 checking account.
If you carry a debit card on your travels, your bank may ask you to notify them in advance. that’s because you could notice transactions made in an unknown location and potentially freeze your account. capital one does not require this notification, thanks to the added security of your chip card.
Like credit and debit cards, prepaid cards can be easier to carry than cash. they may also offer some protections against loss, theft, or fraud once you register them.
but with a prepaid card, you don’t “borrow” money like you do with a credit card, or use money from your checking account, like with a debit card. instead, you typically add money to a prepaid card before you make your purchases.
according to the cfpb, there are several ways to add funds to a prepaid card. for example, you can transfer money from your checking account or load funds at some retail stores or financial institutions.
It may be helpful to know that you may be charged one or more fees for using a prepaid card. The CFPB notes that if you get your prepaid card from a retailer, you should find a summary of fees on the card’s packaging. If you get your card from a different provider, online or over the phone, for example, the provider must provide you with this information on paper or electronically.
You’ll probably have your phone with you when you’re on the go, right? Using a mobile wallet to make purchases is another modern alternative to traveler’s checks.
A mobile wallet is essentially a digital version of your real wallet. Depending on the wallet, you may be able to store things like credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, boarding passes, hotel reservations, event tickets, and other types of personal data.
convenience can be one of the benefits of mobile wallets. allow you to make quick and easy payments using your phone or other mobile device on the go. security may be another. mobile wallets typically use advanced technology that prevents your real account numbers from being stored in the wallet.
there are many mobile wallets to choose from. Researching your options might help you see which one will work best while you’re on the go.
Also, it may be helpful to know that some merchants may not accept mobile wallet payments, for example, if they are unable to process those payments.