Insta-Q&A: Taking Credit for Italy
It's Insta-Q&A time again, where you can pose questions to the Travel section and also help out fellow travelers with your own answers to their queries. Today's question comes from a reader who's wondering about credit card use during an upcoming Italian vacation.If you have some advice for Tom from Springfield, by all means post a comment. And if you have a question yourself, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He writes: "My family and I are planning a trip to Italy later this year. We all have Visa cards. If we use them, are there any additional charges we can expect to incur?"
Oh, you'll use them all right. In fact, there's some sort of mathematical law to that effect (1 trip to Italy + 1 family from Springfield armed with multiple Visas = the poor house). And should you survive, expect to see extra fees on your credit card bills upon your return. So before you leave, and particularly if you have cards from multiple banks, call each institution and verify the fees they charge for international transactions.
This is usually around 3 percent of the total purchase, with 1 percent going to the credit card company and another 2 percent to the issuing institution, but there are some credit card companies that don't add on surcharges and at least one that doesn't pass its Visa or MasterCard charges onto cardholders. You can see a chart comparing the policies of several major card issuers -- accurate as of December 2007 -- at BankRate, an independent financial information Web site.
Anyone have any more wisdom regarding credit card usage abroad? Anyone have any horror stories?
By Scott Vogel |
March 12, 2008; 7:10 AM ET
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