My finances, my projects, my life
August 21, 2019

Bank cards – tips for when you travel

Are you about to go on holiday, with visions of sun, sea and sand dancing in your head? myLIFE has a few tips on money and bank cards to bring with you, so you can leave your cares at home and make the most of your trip.

Before you go, get ready.

Card-linked insurance and assistance

Are you preparing for a trip, and planning to use your credit cards while you’re away? Now is when you should read about the perks you didn’t know they came with. Before it’s time to leave, review the insurance and assistance services your bank cards give you access to. These may include emergency repatriation, reimbursement for cancelled flights, cover for lost luggage and more. Check your card policies to ensure that you’re well protected and that you don’t take out multiple insurance cover with different providers, resulting in unnecessary extra costs.

How can you take advantage of these services? Insurance cover applies to purchases made with the particular card, while assistance is available to cardholders in need. If anything happens, contact your credit card provider to get the best advice.

Foreign currency

Are you travelling outside the euro zone? If you need foreign currency, don’t forget to make arrangements on time! Some banks in Luxembourg have certain ATMs where you can withdraw US dollars, pounds sterling or Swiss francs. For more exotic currencies, it’s usually better to exchange money once you arrive than to order it in Luxembourg before you leave. But if you’re dead-set on doing this, remember to order the currency at least a week before you go, to avoid any hang-ups.

Card spending limits

When we’re on holiday, most of us have a tendency to treat ourselves to special purchases, spending more than we usually would for the month. It would be a shame to discover during your trip that your card is maxed out, leaving you unable to enjoy that final round of sightseeing.

That’s why it’s important to check your card limit before you leave. If necessary, increase it for the duration of your trip – or on a permanent basis. Requests to change a spending limit are generally approved instantaneously, at least during your bank’s normal business hours. If you’re planning to do this once you arrive, remember to account for different time zones. For a major increase, approval can take a little longer. All the more reason to request it beforehand!

Payment authorisations

Check that your bank’s app is up and running before you go on holiday, and rest easier – it lets you turn payment authorisations on or off in seconds! Block your card to prevent withdrawals, online purchases or payments outside Europe in a single click.

Payments made using your card are also more secure, as they offer some protection in the event of loss or theft.

Once you’re there, enjoy!

Card or cash?

Many tourists are still in the habit of travelling with large amounts of cash, but this is a mistake. Plastic is the best way to pay while you’re abroad. When using your card in another country, avoid the risk of a less favourable exchange rate by choosing to make the transaction in the local currency.

Payments made using your card are also more secure, as they offer some protection in the event of loss or theft.

For cash in the euro zone, use debit

Have you run out of euros but need some cash for souvenirs or an excursion? If you’re travelling in the euro zone, you can withdraw money using your debit card. As a general rule, a V PAY servicard will allow you to make a certain number of free withdrawals abroad. Contact your bank to find out how many.

And if you find you still need to use your credit card at a foreign ATM? This withdrawal will be regarded as a cash advance, and you will have to pay fees on it. A fixed percentage of how much you take out will be added as an extra charge, meaning this amount could be high. That’s why it’s good to find out exactly what conditions apply, before you leave.

And be aware that in certain countries (including Spain, Germany and Greece) some ATMs charge additional fees for each withdrawal made with a card. These are added on top of your bank’s fees, but they’ll always be shown on the ATM screen when you make the transaction.

In your online bank account, you can easily view your card balance and all your past and pending transactions.

View your spending with real-time updates

When on holiday, it’s tempting to allow a sense of frivolity or nonchalance to wash over you. But if you make it a point to watch your budget, you’ll avoid any unpleasant surprises when you get back. In your online bank account, you can easily view your card balance and all your past and pending transactions. This means you can check the value in euros of any payments in foreign currency, and view any security deposits for your hotel or car hire. It’s an important thing to do if you want to avoid spending more than you can afford.

What to do if your card is lost or stolen

Even on holiday, there’s always a risk of losing your card or having it stolen, or simply forgetting where you put it!

  • If you lose your card, block it temporarily (if your bank provides this option). Once you find it, simply unblock it to start using it again. If you don’t find it, declare it as lost and a new one will automatically be ordered for you.
  • If your card is stolen, block it permanently. A new one will be sent to your home address as soon as possible.

How, you ask? Most banks allow you to block your card instantly from your online bank account, day or night. If you don’t have internet access, you can call Six Payments on +352 4910-10, and they will take care of it.

Bon voyage!