The Courier-Mail

Avoid being slugged overseas

- SOPHIE ELSWORTH

TRAVELLERS often find it a tough task to escape expensive fees when using their credit card overseas.

But with the spring school holidays looming , working out how to cut back your card costs while abroad can pay off.

Financial comparison website Canstar put the microscope over more than 180 credit cards and found there’s a host of fees you need to be aware of.

CONVERSION FEES

This hurts. It’s the largest charge you’ll be stung with when you use your card overseas – it’s the cost of converting Australian dollars into foreign currency.

The costs range from zero to 3.85 per cent of the transactio­n so a worst-case scenario is that you would pay $38.50 on fees when spending $1000.

It is usually the only fee in an in-store purchase. Find out what the conversion fee is as it will make a huge difference at the end of your trip.

DOUBLE STING

Canstar research analyst James Slack says some institutio­ns split currency conversion fees into two fees.

One is the fee for converting one currency to another and another fee is charged just for making a transactio­n overseas.

CASH ADVANCES

Using your credit card to take out cash overseas is one of the most costly exercises you can do and Slack urges customers to steer clear of this if possible.

“It’s very expensive because you’ll be hit with both a fixed charge for using an ATM, for example $5, plus a currency conversion fee and another percentage charge for the cash advance fee,’’ he says.

“On top of all that, you’ll be charged interest as soon as you withdraw money from your credit card.”

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