Traveling for business purposes or jet setting off on holiday? Have you thought about how you are going to pay for your various expenditures abroad? You could consider using your existing credit or debit card.

Paying by card is one of the most convenient means to pay. Even while traveling, using your card could be much safer than carrying around large bundles of foreign currency. Whether it is an American Express, MasterCard or Visa card, as long as your card carries an international scheme, you will be able to use it at most shops and cash machines around the world.

And it’s not just safe to use, but can help you reap big rewards too. Take for example, the Citibank Citi PremierMiles card which can get you 2 Citi Miles for every USD 1 spent internationally, or the Citibank Emirates Citibank World card which will get you 1 Skywards Mile for every USD 1 spent internationally. You can redeem your Citi Miles for free flights, hotel stay, gift vouchers and lots more. Skywards Miles can also be redeemed for free flights, upgrades and shopping at

Citibank button

However, while travelling any cash withdrawals or purchase transactions you undertake on your credit or debit card will usually carry a cost. Another thing to keep in mind is that there maybe restrictions on usage from your credit card provider’s end. We put together some useful tips from managing your card for travel purposes to protecting yourself from fraud.

Using your card abroad: Do’s

Before travel:

  • Check if your card is valid, that it has not expired. Also be sure to maintain sufficient funds in your account and find out your withdrawal limit.
  • Let your bank or card provider know of your plans at least 24 hours in advance. In some cases, if your trip is not registered in the transaction monitoring system your transactions abroad may be blocked.
  • Update your bank or credit card provider with your latest contact details, including your contact number while abroad.
  • Keep a note of useful contact details of your bank or provider for any communication required during travel.
  • Check the charges attached to using your debit or credit card abroad. Remember to ask about the applicable currency conversion rate and the transaction processing fees.

[Related: Foreign exchange fees – Using your credit card abroad]

While traveling:

  • Keep receipts of all transactions, whether retail purchases, hotel and restaurant bills or ATM withdrawals. You can use this when you are back to check against your card and account statements.
  • As is the case in your country of residence, remember to monitor your card activity even while abroad. Be sure to contact your bank immediately if you notice any suspicious or fraudulent activity on your card.
  • If you lose your card abroad, or it is stolen, report the loss immediately to your bank and local law enforcement authorities.
  • When checking out of a hotel or returning a rental car, remember to cancel any pre-authorization obtained from your bank for advance reservations.

Using your card abroad: Don’ts

  • When making withdrawals, do not leave your receipts behind at the ATM machines.
  • Never share your PIN with anyone, including bank personnel, shopkeepers and hotel staff.
  • Avoid keeping all your cards in one wallet or one place. This way if you lose your wallet or bag, you don’t lose multiple cards.
  • Don’t go lax on security measures you generally take while using a cash machine.

[Related: Love to travel? You’re missing out without this…ATM fraud: Scams and how to stay safe]