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Valued Member
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎01-15-2009
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Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

I am moving to Ireland for a year for work.  I am used to using my credit cards for rewards here in the U.S., and use very little cash, but I know there are international transaction fees (built into the charges, not obvious separate charges) for using a U.S. credit card abroad.

 

1. Are there really good cards available here that have low or no transaction fees for use abroad?  The only name that I've seen come up is Capital One, but I've also heard it's only so-so as cards go and other than if needed for this trip, I had not planned to open any more credit lines.

 

2. I will have my paycheck split into both U.S. and Irish banks while I'm gone.  Should I just learn to use a European debit card and/or get a European-issued credit card while I'm gone?  I'm guessing I won't have any 'credit' there, just income verification to start.  I know my employer will set me up with an account at Bank of Ireland at least.  Maybe I need to learn to get by without rewards if I can at least have the convenience of a debit card from the local bank.  Or maybe I'll have to learn to use cash...  :/

 

3. Keeping my cards alive while I'm gone: I assume using them a couple times per year will do it.  I suppose I can make occasional small purchases with them, and/or let my parents use them back here at home when they buy things for my pets they are watching or to ship me things I need.  I am wondering if I shop a U.S. company online and ship to a U.S. address if that will work, even though I'll be logging in from a European IP address?

 

My current cards are

Discover: probably can't use at all in Europe; my main card here

Amex Blue: I rarely use this, but heard these are sometimes useful in Europe?  I have no ideas on int'l fees

Amazon Visa Signature: I charge the heck out of this now along with my Discover, can be used there with fees

BofA WorldPoints: my backup card, rarely used.  I'm wondering by the name if this could be promising...

 

Anyone have luck asking for reduced international fees during an extended trip and/or conversion to a card appropriate to long term travel?

Just wondered what advice might be out there.  I guess I need to check my cards' terms too.  Thanks for any ideas!

Super Contributor
Posts: 5,759
Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

Capital One if you have a high credit line.
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,708
Registered: ‎10-16-2008
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

Ditto to the Capital One card.

 

Capital One issues a World Mastercard which has no fees for foreign transactions; also, no annual fee, no past-due fee, no returned payment fee, no cash advance fees and no transfer fees.  Credit lines start at $5,000.

 

Hope this helps, and please send me a shillelagh when you've got a moment (I'd prefer one of blackthorn, if you will...) !!

Valued Member
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎01-15-2009
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

Thanks for the advice!  Off to figure out what a shillelagh is.  :smileyhappy:
Regular Contributor
Posts: 246
Registered: ‎11-05-2008
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union has a Mastercard that advertises "Surcharge-free currency conversions".  You can become elligible to join this credit union by joining the Southern California Historical Aviation Foundation which costs $25.00.  Might be worth a look, I belong to the credit union but have never applied for credit with them.
Senior Contributor
Posts: 3,696
Registered: ‎01-10-2008
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone


Uborrow-Upay wrote:

Ditto to the Capital One card.

 

Capital One issues a World Mastercard which has no fees for foreign transactions; also, no annual fee, no past-due fee, no returned payment fee, no cash advance fees and no transfer fees.  Credit lines start at $5,000.

 

Hope this helps, and please send me a shillelagh when you've got a moment (I'd prefer one of blackthorn, if you will...) !!


do you have a link?  search results indicate the card is no longer being offered.

FICOS:
06/13 EX 765 (PSECU) EQ 771 (DCU) TU 779 (Barclays)
Valued Member
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎01-15-2009
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

I have been on chat with a CSR at Capital One and he told me there are no foreign transaction fees for any Cap One cards at this time.  I am now comparing three rewards/miles cards to see which will fit me best.  All three say there are no foreign transaction fees on their highlighted information in the comparison.

 

Thanks so much for the tips.  It looks like this will be the right company for me; hope the credit line is good!

Established Contributor
Posts: 992
Registered: ‎05-14-2008
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

[ Edited ]

Having lived abroad for many years there are several ways to play this.  First, don't get hung up on rewards, they are of secondary concern if you are only going to be gone for a year..  Second, make sure you understand how your company operates on their depositing a portion of your paycheck in a local bank, often called 'local draw'.  Usually, a company will adjust this exchange rate only every quarter and depending on how the dollar is trending you may win or lose.  With a volatile dollar I would be very cautious getting locked in to a scheme like this if you can avoid it.  I always turned this option down.

 

A better way to play it is to open a local Company supported account, or have your employer do it, and deposit USD checks as needed to fund your day to day living.  If it is an employer supported account you will get the very best exchange rate that large corporate customers get with minimal clearing time for your deposit.  That exchange rate can be a couple of percent better than what you are going to get using a credit card, even ignoring any fees they may tack on.  Do not be seduced by the promise of "No international fees" by Capital One.  A bank is not going to let a couple percent of revenue slip away by making such a promise.  There are all kinds of exchange rates; two being the interbank rate used by governments and large companies to move money around, and a tourist rate (similar to what you'd get at an exchange rate kiosk at the airport) and by default there is an extra couple of percent already tacked into that rate.  You have to do the math and quiz each card to see what their policies are and which rate they use.

 

You are better off having money deposited in your Irish bank account and using cash for day to day transactions.  BUT, you have to understand how your company operates in this regard, like clearing times and exchange rate calculation.   I used to be able to take a USD personal check down to the Company Credit Union in the office lobby in the morning and in the afternoon the money was deposited in my local chequing account in the afternoon at the best exchange rate possible.  See how your company operates in this regard.  It can get tricky.

 

Forget gettting a local credit card, it won't be worth it to you.  Just use an ATM card to get cash out of your local account.  Do not change your address on your US accounts to a foreign address, this is a red flag.  Either pay online or have your parents do it.  AMEX is the best card overseas, especially if you need any assistance along the way.  You won't get reduced fees on international transactions so I wouldn't even bother to ask. 

 

I'd be quizzing my Company first as to how they operate in handling expat assignments.  Some are better than others and often the policies aren't always in the employees best interest.  Other than using their local credit union or bank to get the best exchange rate I forgo Company assistance in the banking arena.

 

This whole area of expat living can be a nightmare and many people just go along with the companies plan.  It depends on how involved you want to get, but since you hang around this forum it would seem you like to get into these details. I always took control of it and only transferred what I needed to my local account so I didn't have a bunch of money to repatriate back to USD at the end of the assignment.  Every time you transfer there are fees coming out.

Message Edited by Watchmann on 01-13-2010 10:21 PM
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,708
Registered: ‎10-16-2008
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

Sorry, score_building, I do not have a link.  I received a mailer from Cap One.

 

The offer also includes: 0% Purchase APR until October, 2010; 10,000 Bonus Miles after first purchase; and 10,000 Bonus miles for each of the next two years, if there's a minimum spend of $3k/year.  Miles can be exchanged for cash, etc.

 

The cut-off date for a reply is next month, just before the new laws kick in.  

 

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,754
Registered: ‎11-03-2007
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Re: Best CCs for international use; keeping cards alive while I'm gone

http://www.norgrumfcu.org/loans/mastercard.aspx

 

Addison Avenue Visa Platinum - 0% FTF.

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