Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rick Steves’ Europe: Card Fees (and How to Avoid Them)




Travelers returning from Europe often open their mail to discover they paid more for their trip than they thought they had. Over the last decade, banks have dramatically increased their fees for overseas transactions. While these fees are legal, they’re basically a slimy way for credit-card companies to wring a few more dollars out of their customers.

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So, how can a smart traveler avoid — or at least reduce — these fees? Here are a few suggestions.

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If you’re getting a bad deal, get a new card. Some companies offer lower international fees than others — and some don’t charge any at all. If you’re going on a long trip, do some research and consider taking out a card just for international purchases. Capital One has a particularly good reputation for no-fee international transactions on both its credit cards and its debit cards linked to a checking account. Most credit unions have low-to-no international transaction fees. Bankrate has a good comparison chart of major credit cards and their currency-conversion fees.

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Avoid dynamic currency conversion (DCC). Some European merchants — capitalizing on the fact that many Americans are intimidated by unusual currencies — cheerfully charge you for converting their prices to dollars before running your credit card. Read more: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money/card-fees

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