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The Ultimate Guide to Payment Methods for International Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Payment Methods for International Travel

Travellers from around the globe are always drawn to examine new cultures and create lasting memories. However, travelling demands understanding foreign payment and currencies. Here is a guide to securing the right payment methods for international travel.

Payment Options

There are several ways to complete international payments. Here is a look at the top options:

Credit Cards:

A credit card allows users to withdraw money and transact on credit.


No transaction fees: Most credit cards don’t carry concealed costs, such as transaction fees. As a result, you can optimise your travel expenditure.

Benefits: Travel credit cards accrue benefits such as redeemable miles or points on bookings. You can use points to secure upgrades on flights or hotels.

Integrated insurance: Travel credit cards come with medical and travel insurance, allowing users to confidently tour international destinations.

Access: Some premium travel cards provide access to airport lounges and several premium airport facilities.


Annual charges: Credit cards have annual fees. Therefore, ensure the benefits and rewards outweigh the cost of holding the card.

Debit Cards:

Debit cards replace actual cash and use funds available in an account.


Widely accepted: Debit cards are accepted by retailers and ATMs worldwide. Almost every corner of the world has a card reader for debit card transactions.

No debt: Credit cards build debt, while debit cards access your money. A debit card is the way to go if you don’t want to owe anyone.


Charges: Although debit cards don’t have annual fees, transaction charges are applied to international transactions and withdrawals. The charges vary between banks.

Notification for travel: Some banks require notice of international transactions every time you travel. This ensures overseas transactions are not flagged and blocked.

Prepaid Travel Cards


Financial ease: Prepaid cards hold a set amount, allowing users to keep track of expenditures and stick to their travel budget.

Competitive exchange rates: Prepaid cards are known for providing unmatched exchange rates along with low transaction fees.


Reloading disadvantage: Reloading a prepaid card while travelling can be a headache. It’s prudent to load the card with enough money before travelling.

Money Transfer


Competitive exchange rates: Compared to conventional currency exchange bureaux, travel money transfer services provide attractive exchange rates. You get more value for your money.

Safe exchange: Money transfers are good for large payments, such as hotel reservations. They are reliable, safe and secure.


Transfer fees: The transfer fees may offset the advantage of a marginally better exchange rate.

Slow transaction speed: Processing money transfers may take some time. Therefore, plan ahead.

Wallets on the Go


Smooth payments: You can make safe, contactless payments with your smartphone or smartwatch and with mobile wallets.

Increased safety: Additional security features like fingerprint or face recognition are added to mobile wallets.


Limited global use: Although mobile wallets are growing in popularity, not everyone accepts them. Therefore, check ahead before pooling all your money into a mobile wallet for travel.

Now that you are aware of the payment options, consider the following further advice to maximise your overseas spending even more:

  • Notify the bank of your trip arrangements to ensure unrestricted access.
  • Account for the costs of ATM withdrawals, international transactions, and any other expenses related to your selected payment options.
  • Take advantage of bonus points or low international transaction fees. These can go a long way in reducing your travel expenses.
  • Reduce the frequency of ATM withdrawal fees if you are subject to high charges. You can carry cash, but be careful.
  • If your travel destination has facilities for contactless payments, consider it. It’s practical and safe.

In conclusion, you can make well-informed decisions to reduce the cost of your overseas vacations by analysing the various payment options and related expenses. Choose right and pay less as you make your round-the-world flights.

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