Financial Woes in Foreign Currencies

Anything involving finances while travelling is a headache. I hate to complain, I really do, but the convoluted world of credit cards, debit cards, even just paying in plain-old cash becomes next to impossible when you are in a foreign currency. The last thing I wanted to find myself doing at half-past nine this morning was stuck on the phone with Chase customer service trying to figure out why they have absolutely no records on me, thus, no way to help me pay for the one measly little ticket to the Olympic torch relay finale in Hyde Park this afternoon. I wasn’t trying to make a down payment on a yacht, people.

Word of warning: before leaving home, make sure you know a few things, like…

  1. Who is the primary cardholder, if it is not you? Know their information, including answers to all security questions, passwords, and the last four digits of their SSN.
  2. Figure out how to get in touch with your bank and credit card customer service while overseas. There should be a number listed on the bottom left-hand corner on the back of your credit card.
  3. What’s the exchange rate for your country’s currency and that of the country in which you are travelling? Also, know how much it will cost you to exchange cash, if you plan on bringing any to exchange in-country. This should keep you safe from being ripped off at conversion.

Don’t leave all this information to memory alone. Jet-lag is not your friend when it comes to retracting random assortments of letters and numbers from the recesses of your mind. So keep it all written down somewhere safe and secure, but easy enough for you to find.

Don’t forget to let your bank AND credit card provider know that you will be out of the country. If you miss this oh-so-important step, both or either will block any purchases you try to make abroad, because they will assume that your card has been stolen.

If you follow through with these few steps it will make your trip much more enjoyable, without the hassle of dealing with financial road bumps when you’d rather be walking through the British Museum or Tate Modern or, well, anything really.

Emily Bowman, DUSA Student Blogger

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