Credit & debit cards

Travel Forums Asia Credit & debit cards

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1. Posted by Derek28 (Budding Member 13 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

Some may have seen my last post on my travelling plans but if not, I am planning a 6 month trip around Asia & Australasia and I'm currently in the process of planning flights and some accommodation. My question is on credit and debit cards.

I currently have my main debit card account (which I don't plan to use whilst travelling due to large transaction fees!) and I also have a 'Revolut' card which is a top up card that allows me to use ATMs abroad without any extra fees. I was just wondering if it's worth getting another credit/debit card when travelling or if i'll be ok just using a revolut card?

I have noticed some credit cards offer air miles and special offers when you use them, plus no foreign transaction fees. I was wondering if anyone else has used any credit cards when travelling and if they recommend any credit card companies that offer good cards for travelling.

I live in the UK so not sure if US credit card companies vary at all, but I can check that at a later date


2. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1277 posts) 1y 2 Star this if you like it!

It's always wise to have more than one credit card and more than one debit card while traveling, particularly if you will be on the road for extended periods. Visa cards are accepted in more places around the world than MasterCard.

While many airline cards don't have foreign transaction fees, they usually have annual fees (usually after the first year). Some cards might be worth paying an annual fee if they include benefits such as airport lounge access, the ability to transfer miles to airline partners, travel credits, travel insurance, etc. Shop around.

If you're using a debit card, make sure you know how much you want to withdraw before you begin the transaction. If you take too long to decide (for example, trying to figure the exchange rate), the ATM could "eat" your card.

Notify your card provider when and where you plan to travel. If you don't the transactions may not go through.

3. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

The main thing is to have 2 cash/debit cards (one as a back-up kept separately) which don't charge for transactions abroad, because the fees can really add up. I believe the Post office do one (Unless they've changed it), as does Santander and I think one of the others does as well. I believe you can check which ones do what on Moneysupermarket comparison website, but the other comparison sites may also do that.
If you want a 3rd or 4th, that's entirely your choice.
I also carry some £ and/or $ which I don't touch until late in the journey unless I have to.
Do invest in a money belt or similar 'secure' concealed carrying item, as backpacks and suitcases are relatively easy to take when someone waver a machete at you! Yes it's unlikely to happen but better to be safe.

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Feb-2019, at 15:18 by Andrew Mack ]

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2403 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

"..wondering if it's worth getting another credit/debit card when travelling or if i'll be ok just using a revolut card?"


Don't travel with a single card for spending money. You could lose it, it might become damaged and not usable or some random "romantic interest" could steal it.

  • * For my debit cards I have Bill Pay set up where I can transfer money between the accounts. I do use one debit card from my credit union more often. When that card goes below a particular level I do a money transfer from other accounts. If the card I use most often is lost or stolen the the majority of my "travel money" is still available.

(My Credit Union debit cards have no annual fees, various benefits, pays interest on my savings plus reimburses me a little bit for some withdrawals overseas.)

A couple credit cards will come in handy for buying flights and maybe paying for medical care if you get hurt without insurance good overseas.

When I use an ATM overseas for cash withdrawals I use one located inside when possible or the ATM is close to the bank who owns it. If the card jams or does not come out for some reason it will be easier to notify the parent bank so they can solve the problem. (This means you must plan ahead so you do not run out late at night when banks are closed.)

5. Posted by MAd4travel (Respected Member 25 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

We’ve been travelling for year and been using Nation Wide Credit Card which doesn’t charge any transaction fee when you use it abroad or for any purchased made in other currency than £ British pound.
We also have Barclays Credit Card Travel, which again doesn’t charge any fees at all in any transaction done if foreign currency but also does not charge you any interest on any cash advance made in foreign currency.
Enjoy your travels

6. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 866 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

Another thing you might want to consider is downloading an app that shows you where the fee free ATMs are. That way you may be able to avoid some of the extra fees ATMs place on transactions.

7. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1320 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

We've had cards eaten by bank machines twice now. Always follow the advice above and take at least two credit cards. Additionally, use them only at banks that are open. That way if the machine eats your card, you can go inside and get it back. Further, be sure to call all your card companies and tell them when you will be gone and where you are going. If you don't do this, they may put a hold on your card thinking it was stolen and someone else is using it. We've had that happen too.

There are some cards that don't charge fees, don't have foreign transaction fees and give you airline miles. We live in the USA so I can't help you with a British card but doing a Google (or other) search for fee-free credit cards should give you some options to explore.

If you have a smart phone, you can do almost any banking you need on that. If this is a first trip or you're not used to foreign travel, it might be useful to go to your bank and talk to them about it and see what they suggest.

Enjoy your trip.

8. Posted by Derek28 (Budding Member 13 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi again guys, Thanks for all your replies in such quick reply and in great detail (This forum is awesome!)

I've looked up a few credit card companies and the ones that I've shortlisted are Halifax Clarity & Santander Zero (As far as I can tell, these do not have foreign transaction fees). I just wonder now if these cards I have would be suitable for travelling, so my plan is -

- Revolut Card - Prepaid Debit - Using to withdraw money from ATMs abroad

- Lloyds Card - Main debit account - Transfering money to revolut card (Will avoid using card abroad due to extra fees)

-Halifax or Santander - Credit Card - Using to buy flights and/or accommodation

This would be 3 cards I have, do you think that's enough or should I get an extra one for emergency?


9. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1320 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Assuming two of these are either MasterCard or Visa, you should be fine. Keep in mind that Amex is not accepted at a large number of places. If you travel high-end, you would have better luck with that. The bank machines have listed on them the different cards they accept but nearly all accept MasterCard and Visa.

Three should be plenty. We put everything we can on the airline mile card just to get the miles. The free trips are great.

Enjoy your trip.

10. Posted by Derek28 (Budding Member 13 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

We put everything we can on the airline mile card just to get the miles. The free trips are great.

I sadly may have to pass on the airline mile card as it seems in the UK there aren't many around, especially as I'll be flying different airlines anyway! I've heard about Avios, but haven't gotten much information from my research unless anyone else knows of any cards that offer miles?

I suppose having the main credit card will be ok though, made that mistake last time I went to Australia, didn't realise Lloyds had charged me extra transaction fees on my debit card. Whoops!