It is possible to put yourself through a lot of stress and problems if you use your debit or credit cards abroad. The fact is that every country has different rules and different potential problems.
The Visa or Mastercard symbol
It can be difficult to tell if the shop you are approaching will accept visa or MasterCard. In Europe, if the shop/place has a card reader, then they will very often accept debit cards. Some will not accept credit cards, especially if they are smaller companies. If you see the Mastercard symbol in the shop/place, then they will probably accept your credit card.
Tell your bank if you are leaving for another country
There are times when you use your debit or credit card in another country and it is fine, and there are other times when your cards are frozen by your bank for, seemingly, no reason.
You should inform your bank before you go on holiday and tell them where you are going. There is a chance they will think your details have been stolen and that you are being ripped off. They may call you about the freeze, but there is a chance they will wait for you to call them. Being stuck on hold in another country whilst you try to get through to your bank is a nightmare.
Withdrawal fees get worse abroad
It costs you money to withdraw money with your credit card no matter where you are, but in another country, other than your home country, it is going to cost you a lot more. You should avoid withdrawing cash from your credit card wherever possible. If you are charged a fee, which is a given, then it may be better if you withdraw a lot at one time, as many have a flat fee for withdrawals.
Change your pin number to four numbers
There are some places that allow you to have five number pins, some that insist on four, and some that let you choose. European ATM machines will only accept four numbers, which means your card must have a four number pin before you can use it in Europe.
Look at the back of your card
If you want to with draw money from your debit card, then do it from an ATM, and do it from a machine bearing your symbols. Look at the back of your card, and you may see the Visa symbol, or mastercard symbol, or whatever. Check the machine to see if they have the same symbols. If they do, then you will probably have a better time. Just because the symbols are not on the machine it does not mean it won’t work for you, it just means there is a higher chance it will not.
Find out how much your bank charges for international create card purchases
They may have rules stating that you are charged more debt fees if you buy things abroad. It is better to find out first before getting your bill at the end of the month and seeing how bad things are.