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For Customers Traveling Abroad: Set Them Up With More Ways to Pay

In 2018, more than 93 million Americans made a jaunt to a foreign country. As your account holders are likely among those with varying degrees of wanderlust, you'll want to ensure they have one thing: easy access to their money when traveling abroad.

In just a few simple steps, you can set up your account holders with top-of-wallet solutions that will help them – and their spending – feel welcome wherever adventures take them.

Before they go

Much of your work to set up your account holders for payment success can happen before they leave the country. While it’s a general rule to not use debit internationally, often times committed debit card users will still be inclined to use their preferred form of payment. Here are a few proactive steps you can take to help them build a global-savvy wallet:

  • Contact their issuing banks: According to Smarter Travel, one of the top mistakes cardholders make when traveling is not letting their issuing banks know they'll be on the road. Remind customers to notify their debit and credit card issuers of their travel plans about a week before departure. This will help avoid any fraud flags when they’re ready to spend when traveling.
  • Get foreign currency while still in the U.S.: Consumer Reports names foreign currency kiosks (like those in airports) as one of the most expensive ways for travelers to exchange currency. As an issuer you can gently nudge customers to exchange money before they depart for their trip, often directly from your institution, if you offer this service.
  • Bring alternative ways to pay: Global acceptance of debit and credit cards varies from country to country. Help your account holders build a travel wallet that includes a variety of payment methods, so they're never stuck in an unfamiliar place without cash. These additions to their wallets can help make international payments go smoothly.
  • Use prepaid travel cards: These cards act just like a debit card. Customers can purchase them for a specific U.S. dollar amount before departure. That dollar amount can then be used to pay in multiple local currencies around the world. Consumers can also use them to access cash at global ATMs to help fill gaps, as debit acceptance can vary.
  • Consider backup credit cards: When traveling, it's wise for consumers to have a few credit cards that are global travel-friendly in their wallet. Encourage them to bring credit cards that will help them avoid foreign transaction fees when used outside of the U.S.

While traveling

You helped your account holders build a multifaceted wallet powered with multiple ways to pay before departure. Now you can help them have the best possible financial experience while on the road. These tips will further set up your account holders for success all over the world.

  • Remind them about international fees: Foreign transaction fees can add up fast for both debit and credit cards. NerdWallet reports these fees being as a high as one to three percent of purchase amount or ATM withdrawal. By educating account holders before they go, you can help them avoid many of the fees that could eat into their purchasing power.
  • Accessing cash: If account holders haven't opted for a prepaid travel card and still prefer to use their debit card, you can still help them save. Recommend that they withdraw larger amounts of cash in a single ATM transaction instead of making several small ATM withdrawals. This approach will help lower overall fees paid and still get cardholders the money they need.
  • Protect your PIN: While this goes for any transaction in the U.S., a friendly nudge can't hurt to remind cardholders to protect their PIN during all point-of-sale and ATM transactions.

Travel success starts with education

With a bit of education, you can set up your account holders with the knowledge they need for smart spending overseas. The payment tips above will help you deliver more convenience, minimal stress and even grander adventures ­­– that take less of a bite out of your account holders' wallets. Need more advice on setting up your cardholders for success? Click here to talk to the folks at Discover Debit about how to educate and support your cardholders.