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6 tips for using your credit card overseas

Whether you’re on holiday or travelling for work, a credit card can save you having to carry cash.

Read our guide for tips on how to spend safely and avoid additional costs when using your credit card overseas.

1. Get the right credit card

Making sure you have the right credit card for your needs could help make your travel plans run more smoothly.

For example, an HSBC credit card is a sterling card, which is accepted at over 24 million locations across the globe. And once you’ve registered for online banking, you can add your credit card to Global View.

Explore: HSBC credit cards

T&C's and eligibility criteria applies.

2. Check what date your credit card expires

Before you go, it can be a good idea to check when your credit card expires. That way, you can get something sorted if your card is due to expire while you’re away.

If your credit card isn’t due to expire, it’s still a good idea to take another payment card, such as another credit card or a debit card, as a backup.

Explore: Replacing your card

3. Let your bank know you’re travelling

Letting your bank know when you’re going away and making sure your details are up to date means they can get in touch with you, if and when needed. It can also be useful to take their contact details with you, in case your card is lost, or you need to temporarily block it.

If you’re an HSBC customer, we’ll look for any unusual foreign transactions on your account, so please let us know before you start travelling. You can contact us:

  • using our online Live Chat service
  • if you’re an HSBC Premier customer, by calling: +44 1534 616 313
  • if you’re an HSBC Advance customers, by calling: +44 1534 616 212

Calls may be monitored and recorded for security, and to help us continually improve our service.

You can also manage your HSBC credit card through online banking, where you can report a card lost or stolen and temporarily block it, if needed.

Explore: Using your card abroad

4. Make sure your monthly repayments are covered

Setting up a Direct Debit or standing order before you travel can help you avoid missing any credit card or bill payments while you’re away. Whether you’re just away for a short time, or for a longer trip, you can relook at your payments when you arrive at your destination, if you need to.

5. Pay in the local currency

Depending on the credit card you have, and the lender, you may be charged a fee for using your card overseas. If you’re given the choice to pay in the local currency, it’s typically cheaper to do so. You could potentially avoid any currency conversion fees (when transactions are processed in GBP), and in some cases, get a better exchange rate.

Check with your lender about whether there are fees for using your credit card abroad.

Avoid ATM withdrawals with your credit card

Using your credit card abroad for cash withdrawals at local ATM machines may mean you’re charged fees, such as a cash advance fee, each time you withdraw. If you’ll need cash, try to get this sorted before you go.

It’s important to note that there may still be an international transaction fee for using your debit card.

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