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Is it convenient to pay by credit card abroad?

Most Italians are still reluctant touse of Credit Cards and Debit Cards (Bancomat), not only in Italy but also abroad. It is natural to ask ourselves, faced with the hesitation of our fellow citizens, why in certain countries, both European and non-EU, credit cards and debit cards are now much more widespread than cash: a question of education? Of mentality? Of technology?
Let's see together why and how to use your credit card and the Debit Card abroad.



Index

  1. Credit card: do you need a pin abroad?
  2. How to use the ATM abroad
  3. Visa cards and Maestro circuit abroad: does it work?
  4. Withdrawals and payments abroad: useful tips
  5. User questions and comments

Credit card: do you need a pin abroad?

  • The PIN is not required: in most of the commercial transactions abroad carried out with the credit card, it is sufficient to "swipe" the card in the way we know well;
  • The PIN may be required: in some cases, however, it can be requested at the same time as paying with your credit card, as an alternative to signing. This depends on the type of POS provided, or on a precise choice, as according to some the PIN is more secure than a simple "swipe";
  • The PIN is essential: it remains confirmed that it is essential for cash withdrawals from authorized counter. But be careful, because this operation involves a commission depending on the circuit and / or bank institution.

How to use the ATM abroad

In spite of what many believe, the Debit Card (Bancomat) often turns out to be the cheapest cash withdrawal tool when you are in a European country: it is recommended to have a Debit card valid for abroad and linked to an online current account, as online current accounts offer services at much lower prices than current accounts opened in branches, e they have low commission costs or sometimes even null.
In this regard, here is an interesting study carried out by SOS Rates, which shows the convenience and costs of withdrawal and payment between Debit Cards connected to a traditional account, Debit Cards connected to an online account and Credit Cards:



  • Payments within EU countries: Free with all cards.
    As can be seen from this study, within European countries, payment by Debit and Credit Cards is always free.
  • Withdrawals within EU countries: ATM.
    Debit Cards connected to an online account allow you to save on average at least 30% compared to an ATM connected to a traditional current account and even about 90% compared to a Credit Card.
  • Withdrawals in non-EU countries: ATM.
    The Bancomat is also the most convenient tool for cash withdrawals in non-EU countries.
  • Payments in non-EU countries: Credit card.
    For payments outside the European Union, credit cards are cheaper, but only in the case of small numbers, below the 100 euro threshold. Otherwise, the ATM still wins.

Visa cards and Maestro circuit abroad: does it work?

Abroad, the Visa cards are widely used and supported by the innovative Visa Travel App for smartphones: Visa guarantees high levels of protection and security. Also Maestro, the group's international debit card circuit MasterCard, is increasingly used and reliable for transactions beyond the Italian borders.



Withdrawals and payments abroad: useful tips

As shown above, if the payment in commercial establishments by means of Credit Cards and Debit Cards within European countries is free, you must instead pay attention to cash withdrawals at the authorized counters: if you are in a European country it generally is more convenient to use the Debit Card (Bancomat) with respect to the Credit Card, while if you are located in a non-EU country need inquire in advance at your bank and understand to what extent the Debit Card is convenient and where it is preferable to use the Credit Card.

Beyond the question of costs, some useful tips for using Credit Cards and Debit Cards abroad are:

  • Never keep your PIN handy along with your reference card;
  • In case of withdrawals at the counter, use all the necessary precautions (make sure you are not alone and in an isolated area, cover the numeric keypad with one hand or an object, etc);
  • Except for special needs, never withdraw large amounts of money: rather find out about the methods and fees for withdrawals.
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