Bank card: 5 reflexes to adopt before going on vacation

Your suitcases are ready and you are about to go on vacation? To avoid unpleasant surprises during your holidays, it is recommended to carry out a few checks with your bank before your departure. Payment ceilings that are too low, excessive bank charges or even inadequate insurance: in the event of a lack of vigilance, the long-awaited vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare. So to leave serenely and avoid unnecessary costs, here are some reflexes to adopt to use your bank card during your holidays, in complete safety.

Pay attention to the type of card you have

Before going abroad, check if you have a credit card or a debit card. The majority of bank cards used in France are debit cards, which are directly linked to a current account. In this case, the expenses incurred are debited from your account a few hours after payment (usually 24 to 48 hours). Credit cards allow them to be charged on a fixed date, usually the 30th of each month. Abroad, some service companies, such as car rental agencies, do not accept debit cards. So remember to check the type of card you have before leaving. The mention “credit” or “debit” is normally indicated on the front of your bank card.

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Check the insurance conditions

If you have a credit card, you necessarily have travel insurance. The latter covers part of the costs related to a possible incident (hospitalization, repatriation, theft of luggage, etc.) that could occur during your stay abroad. It is therefore strongly advised to check your insurance contract before leaving. If high-end contracts can cover substantial amounts, some contracts are much less protective. For example, here are the amounts of reimbursements of medical expenses abroad included in the insurance of the main bank cards used in France. Visa cards: 11,000 euros (classic), 155,00 euros (first), 155,000 euros (platinum). Mastercard: 11,000 euros (standard), 156,000 euros (gold), 156,000 euros (platinum). American Express: 50,000 euros (classic and gold). So to avoid paying thousands of euros out of your own pocket in the event of a health problem or forced repatriation during your vacation, you have the option of taking out third-party insurance, in addition to the insurance linked to your bank card. Here again, you are invited to make a phone call to your adviser to find out about the costs covered by your insurance.

Check payment limits

During the holidays, the costs tend to multiply. Even if you have planned a substantial budget to take full advantage of your holidays, remember to check the amounts of your payment and withdrawal limits. These are the amounts that you cannot exceed with your credit card, otherwise your payments or withdrawals will be refused. If you think your ceilings are not sufficient, just contact your bank advisor to ask them to raise them for the duration of your holiday. You can also perform this operation online, using your customer area on your bank's application or website.


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Declare your trip to your bank

This advice applies particularly to trips outside Europe. For security reasons, banks may block certain suspicious transactions observed on their customers' accounts. This is particularly the case for transfers, payments or withdrawals originating from exotic destinations. To avoid seeing your transactions canceled when you are on a beach on the other side of the world, just give your adviser a call to let him know that you are going to a certain country for your next vacation. Some banks offer their customers an online travel declaration service, accessible via the bank's application or website.

Anticipate bank charges

If you have planned to spend your holidays in a member country of the European Union, you can leave peacefully. No additional bank charges are levied for payments or withdrawals within the EU zone. On the other hand, the vast majority of French banks charge fees for transactions carried out outside the euro zone. American Express cardholders do not escape these commissions either. It is most of the time a fixed commission on payments (about one euro on average) as well as variable costs which amount to 2% to 3% per transaction. For withdrawals, the fixed commission can go up to several euros depending on the bank. Costs that can quickly increase the holiday budget significantly. So to enjoy your trip abroad, while controlling the amount of your bank charges, several solutions are available to you. Most online banks offer free bank cards dedicated to payments abroad. They allow you to pay for your purchases in countries outside the EU, while avoiding bank charges. Traditional banks offer paid monthly packages (between 30 and 40 euros on average), which allow transactions to be carried out without additional bank charges in countries outside the EU zone. An option that can quickly turn out to be profitable for long stays abroad.

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