When traveling abroad for vacation or business, foreign currency-exchange fees can get costly for thrifty-minded people.
There are steps you can take to avoid extra fees in exchanging currency.
The pitfalls to avoid range from using airport exchange tables to using credit cards that surcharge the purchase of products and services.
Ironically, it’s best to use a credit card whenever possible because of the fraud-protection benefit.
But it’s important to get a credit card that gives some cash and doesn’t charge you fees for currency exchanges.
As a seasoned traveler, you probably know to notify your credit card company that you’re going to be traveling.
This avoids the embarrassment of blocked charges.
Otherwise, here are five steps:
1. Use a currency-converting application
In planning your trip, download a currency exchange app on your smartphone.
With a currency-converting app, you’ll be able to verify whether you’re paying too much when exchanging currencies.
Here’s a source to consider: www.xe.com.
2. Trust but verify exchange rates
There are two salient points to remember here. Firstly, remember you’ll more apt to get a better rate of exchange after you’ve arrived on your trip — not while you’re still at home.
Secondly, before you take the word of currency-exchange vendors who claim they are the most cost-effective, verify their claims with your app. Again, ask how much you’ll get for your money before giving it to them.
3. Look for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign-exchange fees
Check with your credit card company to see if it charges a fee for foreign exchanges. Avoid the typical 2 to 3 percent fees charged by many credit cards. Find one that doesn’t. Many such cards will even give you miles or points on your purchases.
If you’re traveling long-term in unstable countries with explosive currencies, check to see if your credit card will average all your exchange rates from the previous month. That will likely save you money.
4. Avoid hotel exchanging services
Say no when your hotel personnel suggest that you allow them to convert your hotel bill into dollars. Usually, the exchange rate is unfavorable. Make sure the hotel bills you in that nation’s currency and that your credit card does the actual exchange.
5. Be careful with your checking account and debit card
Research whether your bank charges foreign-exchange fees if you use your debit card. If it does, visit www.NerdWallet.com, which lists banks that don’t. Charles Schwab Bank is an online bank that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
From the Coach’s Corner, more money-saving tips:
Before You Travel Abroad, Take 6 Financial Precautions Today — Whether you’re traveling to a foreign country for business or pleasure – there are at least six steps you should take. You need to do more than just making sure that your passport is current, planning your itinerary or deciding what to pack.
11 Travel Tips – Save Money, Prevent against Cyber Theft, Fraud — The most vulnerable travelers are businesspeople. That’s because they have to use Internet and e-mail. They’re in danger expressly from vulnerabilities, such as from wirelessly accessible passports to using WIFI.
8 Strategies for Business Tax Deductions on Your Vacation — Did you ever notice professional organizations hold their conventions at favorite tourist destinations? Why? It’s possible to deduct some of those travel costs as business expenses. If you’re careful, you can write off some expenses on your vacation. That’s not to say you can turn your vacation into a tax deduction.
Take Your Business Globally with These 12 Tips — If you want to export your products to the international marketplace, keep in mind and implement 12 steps.
“Money often costs too much.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson