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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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Old 6 Oct 2008
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Credit/Debit Cards

Please bear with my stupidity, this is quite possibly a bone question.

I gave it a quick search, but nothing really fitted the question.

Is there any reason to use a credit card when on the road, rather than a debit card?

I have never had a credit card, and am sort of distrustful of them, look at the mess our country has got in by using them too much!

Do credit cards have any advantages over having a few different debit cards?

I don't even know how one bloody works. Such a crow.

Thanks people.

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Old 6 Oct 2008
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Hi Joel,

One reason you may want to use a credit card is because you may not always be able to use your debit card, whereas Visa and Mastercard are almost worldwide now.

If you are worried about running up debt you can either use visa debit, which is meant to be as good as visa, but a debit is made straight from your account, or you can set up a direct debit to pay off the credit card each month. I travel a lot with work, and this is what I do, using my credit card to earn me points, and paying no or very little interest.

One other point to be aware of is debt and credit cards can screw you over exchange rates and also charge fees for taking money out. Apaprently in the UK the Nationwide offer some of the best rates for using their cards abroad. I have got one (debit and credit) , but didn't do the research myself.


Land's End to Sydney 2009
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Old 6 Oct 2008
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some time it come handy just to be able to show any customs folk a credit card to be able to enter the country.........

The "prepay" Credit Card comes in to the game there, that way you can just top up this card as you like for your trip only or so, fill it up from your account and you only can spend so much as the card is topped up, in the country of destination you can redraw cash for no fee or pay what ever you gone to spend for, use any cash machine and don't have to muck about with exchanging traveller checks.

this link tells you more about "prepay" Credit Cards:
Need a Prepaid Credit Card? Get a new Prepaid MasterCard from MyCashPlus, a pay as you go credit card.

basic it works just like a prepay card for mobile phones with the only differences that you get a VISA or MasterCard logo with it which can be used for any payments world wide.

I just ordered mine...........

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Old 6 Oct 2008
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Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
Do credit cards have any advantages over having a few different debit cards?
So long as the debit card is Visa or Mastercard backed and has the logo on it its virtually the same thing.
The only thing you cant do with a debit card is spend money you don't have.

I took gold debit cards for Mastercard and Visa (drawn on the same bank account) on my trip.
If one would not work, the other would.

As it happened, the MC was more use than the Visa when we got to China/Pakistan/India.

Nostradamus Ate My Hamster
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Old 6 Oct 2008
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My credit card gives me out of country medical coverage. It does a bunch of other stuff as well. I would shop around and see what the best deal is for you.
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Old 6 Oct 2008
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The Nationwide, (Delta Visa), debit card is the card of choice for cash withdrawals. No charges for withdrawals at all, which means you can make as many as you like up to your daily limit, something that comes in very useful when local ATMs will only let you take tiny amounts.

They pay interest on the Flexaccount and good rates of interest on their E-savings which means you can transfer your cash to your Flexaccount as and when you need it via internet.

They are a Building Society, a nice thing in the current climate.

As for larger transactions, like flights I like to use a credit card, because if for example an airline goes bust, you can claim against the CC company. This happened to me, (Air Madrid), and I got damages for another flight and expenses.

I tend to pay off my card, which avoids interest, but I think one of the best as regards interest is EGG. It's all internet based as well. Having a credit card with a nice high limit is very comforting. You never know when the shit will hit the fan and you'll need a significant amount of money. I'm thinking medical expenses/repatriation/ new bike - haha!
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Old 7 Oct 2008
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I have a Visa card from NZ and my bank lets me set it up so the total balance gets repaid from my transaction account when it is due. That way I never pay interest when making purchases.

However, I have to pay interest on any cash advance (ATM) from the day I draw it. To avoid that, I top up the card account before or on the same day as making the withdrawal.

The rules differ from country to country...

The only thing you can't do with a debit card (that I am aware of) is hiring a car in some countries, because they want to provisionally charge your card and that doesn't work on debit cards. They look the same, however.

Europe to NZ 2006-10
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Old 7 Oct 2008
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Just to add to the above, for our US (and Canadian?) friends, avoid Diners Club and Amex unless you have Visa/mastercard as a back up. I've had both of these as company cards (US owned company) and while they might give advantages in North America they are utterly useless anywhere else. It's due to the fee structure, you can wipe out the shops profit if they accept payment on some cards.

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Old 7 Oct 2008
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I second the recommendation for the Nationwide cards. Another credit card issuer with favourable exchange rates and charges is the one from the Post Office.

Have a look on one of the financial comparison websites for further background information on charges, pitfalls, etc.
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Old 14 Oct 2008
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Recently did a trip through South Africa and Namibia. Ran into several places that wouldn't take a debit card--even though it was a Visa debit. Learned a little late it was better to draw larger cash amounts from ATM's to avoid so many individual transaction fees on lots of smaller credit card charges.
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Old 26 Oct 2008
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Dont keep all your eggs in one basket.....

Having multiple cards saved my ass big time when I lost my bag with my wallet and cash and cards..

If I didnt have a credit card stashed on my bike, I would of been stranded in the middle of Argentina with a pocket full of lose change and a empty petrol tank !

Its also good to have a visa, a mastercard etc.. Some banks have strange rules !
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