Living with credit

Roundup: Emily’s credit card travel preparations

Emily Crone

In one week, I will be cavorting around Italy, Greece and Turkey on a two-week vacation with my sister. Last summer was my first time in Europe as an adult, and I encountered several credit card issues for the first time. One problem I had was talking with banks to inform them of my travels to prevent them from flagging my accounts. But fortunately, I am much more prepared this time around.


Last summer, when I called Capital One to let them know I would be traveling abroad, I was stuck on hold for about 20 minutes before speaking to a representative who barely knew English. When I called today, they had an automated system set up that allowed me to enter all my travel information quickly without even speaking to a human.

My experience at Bank of America was also much easier this time. Last year, I had to flag my debit and credit cards separately on different phone lines, and when I couldn’t answer obscure security questions on one of the accounts, I had to go to the bank in person. This time, they let me flag the cards together with one representative, and I answered my security questions correctly. Phew.

I feel much more prepared for my trip this time, especially when it comes to my finances. I know how to avoid ATM fees (by using ATMs of banks that have alliances with my banks), how to avoid foreign transaction fees (by getting a Capital One card) and how to avoid hidden charges.

If you’re planning to travel abroad soon, read my blog post about traveling smart with your credit card. It’s harder than you think! And don’t worry — I’m sure you’ll be hearing about some of my inevitable mistakes when I return.

In the meantime, here are some of the best credit card-related posts from the personal finance blogosphere this week. Enjoy!

1. Trent at The Simple Dollar ponders if rounding up your debt payments to the nearest $10 or $100 pays off.

2. Bargaineering tells readers that if you ask politely, credit card companies just might let you adjust your due date!

3. Mrs. Micah explains why she thinks consumer debt, such as mortgages or students loans, is worse than nonconsumer debt.

4. No Credit Needed outlines the 10 steps he uses to manage his personal finances. Some of the biggies are paying off debt, living on a budget and not relying on credit cards.

5. Free Money Finance is unhappy with changes to his credit card agreement (me too!) and has decided that it is time to switch cards.

6. Alex at Queercents explains how she rebuilt her credit after experiencing bankruptcy.

7. Kacie at Sense to Save was planning on buying a home this year, but after much research and thought, she and her husband decided they aren’t prepared for the financial responsibility. Kudos to them! If more people had been so careful, maybe we wouldn’t be in a credit crisis..

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  • I haven’t yet use any capital credit card. And I hope that if I am ready to get one for my traveling, it won’t pose that much problem for me. Thanks for bringing matters like this.

  • Ken

    The relatively new Schwab visa is also a great foreign-travel credit card. 0% foreign transaction fees, 2% rewards on everything.