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Using a Credit Card abroad

 

Credit Cards can be a convenient and safe payment method when you’re abroad, which could even earn you points as you travel. However, you may have to pay a few fees when using your Card overseas. 

 

How to use a Credit Card abroad

 

You don’t need to call in advance to tell us you’re going away. Your Card will work across the globe wherever American Express is accepted, allowing you to make payments and withdraw cash while you travel.

 

Just be aware of any additional fees.

 

Your American Express benefits don’t stop when you set off…

 

Earn points as you travel

 

Every time you make an eligible purchase on your Card, you’ll earn points1. Simply look for places that accept American Express. Even better, one of our Rewards Cards –The American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card (Representative APR 71.5% variable) – allows you to earn Membership Rewards® points for spend made in a foreign currency, terms and conditions apply.

 

Enjoy something on the house

 

Taste from American Express brings your local dining experts’ favourite restaurants from all over the world. And each offers something extra on the house for Card members: either a discount, complimentary wine or appetiser.

 

Maintain peace of mind

 

You can rest assured that American Express protects your account, allowing you to make safe purchases. 

 

Help is just a phone call away

No matter where you are in the world, we’ll be here when you need us, 24/7*. Contact our Customer Service Centre on 0800 028 6434. 

 

Go for stress-free shopping

Purchase Protection and Refund Protection offer repair or refund on eligible items if they’re broken or stolen, within 90 days of purchase. Terms apply.

 

Benefit from our advanced security systems

By law, fraud protection covers you for any unauthorised charges online. Please notify us immediately if you discover fraudulent activity on your account.


 

Things to remember before you travel 

 

Here are a few things you need to check before heading on your overseas adventure:

 

1.  Check your Card expiry date – to make sure you’ll be able to use it while you’re abroad or ask for a replacement Card.

 

2. Review and update your contact details, such as your mobile number and email address, in case your card provider needs to inform you about any fraudulent activity on your Account.

 

3. Don’t rely on one payment method. Have a couple of different cards with you, as well as some of the country’s local currency.

 

4. Save your provider’s contact details on your phone and write them down in case you Card is stolen or you’re facing an overseas emergency.

 

5. Check whether you can use a Credit Card, as some countries might have usage restrictions.

 

6. Set up a Direct Debit if you’re on a long trip to save time and enjoy a relaxed holiday. Find out how to pay by Direct Debit.


 

Credit Card charges abroad

 

There are fees applied to some Card activities when you’re outside the UK. To avoid arriving home to an unexpected bill, take time to familiarise yourself with foreign transaction and cash withdrawal fees before you travel.


 

Foreign Transaction Fee

 

A foreign transaction fee is a percentage of the pound value of foreign currency transactions, so remember to factor these into your budget.

 

  • Foreign exchange fee. American Express charges a currency conversion fee of 2.99% of the converted value of the transaction for each foreign currency purchase you make.
  • Cash withdrawal fee. If you use your Card to withdraw cash abroad, a cash fee of 3% of the withdrawal amount or £3 (whichever is greater) will be payable in addition to the non-sterling transaction fee.
  • Credit Card interest. Check your latest statement or your Card’s terms and conditions to find out more about the interest rates that apply.

You may need to enrol to withdraw cash and we may apply restrictions on the amount or frequency with which you use the cash advance facility.

 


 

Should I pay with local currency when using a Credit Card overseas?

 

Paying in local currency means you’re guaranteed the American Express currency conversion rate, whereas paying in pounds means this decision is with the merchant’s bank.

 

Some foreign vendors might offer a way for you to pay in your own currency with a process called ‘dynamic currency conversion’. This may sound convenient, especially because it means you won’t have to do the mental maths of converting thousands of yen, rupees, or Mexican pesos to pounds. But since dynamic currency conversion payments are usually processed through foreign banks, you’ll likely still have to pay a foreign transaction fee – even if you’re paying in your domestic currency.

 

Read more on the benefits of Credit Cards and their fees here. Travel frequently? Browse our Travel Rewards Cards and Air Miles Cards here.


 

Is it better to use a debit or credit card abroad?

 

The answer depends on the purpose you’re using your card for. However, usually debit cards are more expensive than credit cards, as they tend to have higher rates and more fees for usage. To avoid unpleasant surprises, make sure you get familiar with fees and charges that come with using your card abroad. 


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