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You must carefully choose the credit card that you want. Read the terms, especially those in the fine print, to stop those pesky surcharges. Major credit card companies put a fee of 1-5% on international transactions. These rates shift frequently so you are better off asking your credit card company before travelling. You will observe that a lot of cards from minor banks and some local credit unions charge less or even none. You can also use credit cards for bad credits but these entail large fees.
The exchange rate should also be consistent with all your cards. If you want to find out how the exchange rate affects your purchases of services and products abroad, go to www.corporate.visa.com for Visa's currency converter.
Notify your credit card company of your trip. They may hold your purchases because of deviations from your normal spending patterns. Your company will take note of the date and location of your travels to keep track. Plus, request a temporary higher credit limit.
Keep a copy of your credit card and contact numbers as precautions for lost or stolen cards. The contact information is usually seen at the back of the cards.
Some European credit cards have embedded chips with confirmatory pin numbers in place of your signature. If yours requires a signature, assistance will be needed for you to sign the purchase.
Avoid using credit cards for cash advances. These incur additional fees that are immediately charged.
Look out for dynamic currency conversion or DCC. On top of international surcharges, you will be charged an additional 3% for each transaction. You should know that you are able to stop this. American Express does not offer DCC so you do not have to worry if you have a card with them.
Currency might fluctuate a lot and some merchants take some time to submit the charge to your company. You may get better rates. However, you can ask your credit card company to look on wide deviations. You can see the transaction, purchase, and posting dates in your statement.