Finally, the time has come for London to host the 2012 Olympics and we are just 43 days away from the largest sporting event to come to the UK.
At a time when thousands of people are preparing to travel to the UK to watch their athletes compete for their country, many of us are actually planning to go abroad to avoid the Games according to Association of British Travel Agents:
“The Olympics are going to be an amazing showcase for the UK, but not all of us are sports lovers and our consumer research has found that 12% of us will be heading overseas when the games are in progress.”
If you are a sports lover, and one of the lucky ones to get a ticket for the Olympics in the capital this summer, then you will be restricted to using a Visa card for all your purchases. As one of the official sponsors of the 2012 Games, Visa is the only type of card that will be accepted in the Olympic park.
Fortunately, if you are planning to travel this summer, you will not be restricted on how you pay for things, and so will want to ensure that you are getting best value for money.
With plastic becoming a more dominant method of payment all around the world, it’s no surprise that less people are swapping their Pounds for Euros at the currency exchange before jetting off.
It is a good idea to consider how you are going to use your money abroad well in advance, as you may have to apply for cards and wait for them to arrive in the post.
If you are planning to use your existing credit or debit cards, make sure you contact your bank to find out what their charges are for using the card abroad.
Choose your hand in credit & debit cards
A spokesperson for ABTA warned of the dangers of using credit cards abroad:
“If you’re [going abroad to avoid the Games] and you’re going to be relying on plastic, check with your bank about what level of charges they’re going to levy. Credit cards can often offer better value than debit cards as long as you make sure you pay them off in full when you return.”
If you do opt for a credit card, make sure it’s one that works for you. By doing a bit of research into the best credit cards for travelling before you go on your holiday, you can make sure you are not being overcharged.
“Try and avoid taking regular, small amounts of money from ATMs as most banks will charge a set fee each time you do so. Always tell your bank where and when you will be travelling as they keep an eye out for ‘suspicious’ transactions and can refuse to accept foreign payments if they’re not expecting them” (Sean Tipton, ABTA).
This is one of the best credit cards for using abroad because it does not charge any fees for withdrawals or other transactions.
There are many UK credit cards offering a lower rate of interest than the Clarity, but the lack of fees and charges more than makes up for this slight increase. By paying off the balance in full when you come home, you might even be able to completely avoid any interest charges – saving you money all round.
There are a number of popular ways to pay with plastic now, there is still the option to use credit or debit cards, but now you can also use prepaid cards.
Prepaid travel cards are the ideal alternative to carrying cash around; they provide you with the ease of paying by card but without linking to any bank or credit account.
Check out the prepaid cards on offer
Whilst credit and debit cards often have fees and charges from the bank, prepaid cards do also have their drawbacks, as there are often fees for using the cards both at home and abroad. However, by comparing prepaid cards online, you can get an idea of which ones will best meet your requirements.
Caxton FX Traveller Card
This prepaid card is one of few on the market that does not impose fees and charges for ATM withdrawals or transactions whilst travelling abroad.
It is important that when you return from holiday, or before you leave, you’re not tempted to use any of the three Caxton FX Traveller Cards. Using one of the cards in the UK will leave you out of pocket as the charges are quite high.
All cards, whether prepaid, credit, or debit cards have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider how you will use the card when travelling and find a card to suit your specific needs.
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|Jemma is a news & research reporter for compareandsave.com.Having worked as a journalist on a number of personal finance websites; she now spends time researching and commenting on UK personal finance stories and investigating new ways to help our readers save money.For press enquiries, please visit our Media Centre page.|