More than 15 million Italians choose to pay by credit card or debit card, to avoid traveling with large sums in cash when they are on vacation abroad and to speed up various payment transactions.
Here is a brief vademecum with 10 golden rules to follow in order not to find unpleasant surprises on the current account when returning from holidays
Credit cards or debit cards, which one to choose?
With all the cards it is possible to pay and withdraw cash, the important thing is that they are enabled for operation in other countries (it is advisable to check by calling customer service before leaving).
The fees charged vary considerably for the withdrawal: on credit cards, they are around 4% on average, on ATMs they are around 2%. The latter, however, has a monthly or daily usage limit that may vary abroad compared to that applied in Italy. Also, in this case, it is useful to inquire at the bank.
There are no major differences between card and debit card when making payments online or in a business. If the payment transaction takes place in one of the Sepa countries, there are no commissions, but in the case of use in areas with currencies other than the euro, additional exchange costs may be applied.
Theft, cloning or loss, what to do?
The first thing to do is to call the bank immediately to block the lost card. Once informed, the institute will immediately deactivate the card or ATM. If the stolen card is used before reporting the theft, the law limits the charge to a maximum of 150 euros. All the money stolen after the report is refunded in full.
Is it convenient to change cash at the airport?
No! Using the card for purchases in local currency and not in one’s own currency abroad allows you to obtain a more advantageous exchange rate than those offered by exchange offices at the airport. So, stay away from the change counters at the airport and on the main roads of the holiday resorts, and don’t fall into the little disinterested offer of the merchants not to get paid in the local currency but with that of the card: doing so the exchange is not automatic, it is manual and is generally very salty. The best thing to do is to change the least amount of currency possible, using an ATM or a credit card at an ATM.
Which card to give to children traveling alone?
It’s a classic: kids, especially if they are hardly paying attention to credit card security rules on their first trip abroad with friends. The best solution is a prepaid card: it guarantees the same convenience as an ATM card with the advantage of having a limited credit limit, so as to protect young people, especially parents, from loss or crazy expenses.
Installed apps and open eyes, always!
There are now a few banks with mobile apps that allow you to monitor all payments in real time. Some credit cards send SMSs for each transaction that allow you to keep an eye on the movements and related expenses. It is an alert service that, in case of use of the card, just by SMS immediately alerts the customer.
Once back home, there is homework to do
To verify that everything went smoothly, it is better to continue to monitor the accounts carefully. Unauthorized charges or anomalies may appear after some time.