Credit cards are used by an overwhelming majority of United States citizens, with the Federal Reserve estimating that 72% of Americans have at least one credit card. Businesses often utilize credit cards for their employees to use while traveling, allowing their employees to purchase goods and services they need for conducting regular business on the road. Consumers should take advantage of these same benefits travel cards offer individuals and families businesses capitalize on.
Travel-friendly credit cards offer a number of benefits, including rewards for travel-related expenses, transactions and outstanding balances often aren’t reported to credit agencies, and fraudulent expenses can be protected against through disputes. Cash, debit cards, and other liquid forms of payment don’t offer all three of these ever-helpful benefits. Few credit cards maintained by businesses are not for everyday use, with nearly every business allowing their use exclusively for travel.
While many people recognize that credit cards complement travel well, not everybody understands how to benefit from them while traveling. Following is a brief guide of how you can gain by using your credit card for travel.
Search for card issuers with wide-ranging benefits
Many credit cards have partnerships with particular airlines, gas stations, grocery stores, and other businesses. Cardholders are often surprised to learn that when credit card companies advertise their cards as receiving benefits when traveling, not every business qualifies for these claims.
Thoroughly research particular credit cards and their issuing companies to circumvent misunderstanding wha they actually offer. Do read fine print on contracts, terms, and conditions of card providers and individual cards to discover which companies offer benefits at a number of approved locations.
Make sure benefits are compatible internationally
While the United States is rather large compared to other countries, allowing Americans to vacation while staying within US borders, a good chunk of US citizens choose to vacation overseas. Search for credit cards that honor international travel-related purchases and transactions in countries you plan on visiting. Some card issuers may offer travel-related benefits exclusively in the United States or short lists of other countries.
Keep receipts from international transactions
Disputing domestic purchases is far easier than with transactions overseas. Even if you wait until you’re back home before expressing concerns with your card issue, they aren’t any more likely to approve of disputes. Keep every single receipt when you travel abroad to increase the likelihood of successful disputes.
Engage in risk-averse behaviors
Opportunistic thieves often prey on people unfamiliar with their immediate surroundings — travelers almost always fit the bill. Keep your cards in RFID-blocking wallets, check to make sure terminals don’t have scanners for capturing card numbers, and never let your cards outside of your person.