In 2013 there were around 35 million credit cards in circulation in Germany, with which more than 400 million payments were made. A credit card is indispensable when you are abroad, such as in the USA, Canada, Great Britain or Australia. Here the credit card acts as a daily means of payment.
In general, it is possible to shop cheaply and conveniently with a credit card. It is often not possible to make a payment in any other way, especially on the Internet. Many online shops, airlines and other providers only accept purchases and orders for which customers pay by credit card. This way you don’t take any chances.
Advantages of a credit card especially abroad
Paying by credit card abroad offers many advantages over cash or payment by EC card:
Less cash needed
Credit card owners don’t have to worry about their current cash balance. Too few bills, forgotten “inventories” before going shopping or regular visits to the ATM are no longer necessary.
Every credit card payment means a short-term “mini loan” because the purchase or payment amount is only debited from the account at the end of the month (or quarter).
Better protection against loss
Plastic money can be stolen or forgotten just like real bills and coins. Blocking the card can protect against misuse and limits the personal contribution to the losses. In contrast to EC cards, the bank has to assume liability.
Anyone who has already paid by credit card abroad will be amazed at how quickly payment is made: A Ritsch ratchet lets the receipt be printed out almost at the same time, countersigning with the signature, done. Looking for money from your wallet, handing it over, counting change and handing over often takes longer.
Exact proof of expenses
A detailed monthly statement offers all the options to be able to track the expenses made with the credit card. This facilitates the overview and answers questions about the whereabouts of the money that cannot be answered with cash payments.
Paying with credit card in online shops and auction houses is common today. Unlike, for example, payment in advance with an EC card, credit card users have a much better negotiating position in the event of problems (no delivery, data theft, etc.). The chances of a refund or replacement are much better with a credit card.
The different conditions of the individual credit institutions may even include the reimbursement of the annual card fees. When certain maximum limits are reached, the card is free of charge – despite the annual fee.
Additional bonus / discounts on purchases
Many cards are linked to certain partner companies or bonus promotions. For the holder, this means attractive bonuses with which the use of the card is rewarded.
It is easier to live in foreign countries
If you pay with a credit card abroad, you don’t have to worry about foreign currencies or unknown banknotes, for example. Credit cards make life a lot easier – especially for newcomers on international soil. In addition, on the other side of the world you have never heard of EC cards.
Criteria for a good credit card abroad
However, if you are looking for a new credit card abroad or even want to apply for one for the first time, you should consider a number of criteria to find the ideal credit card. After all, there are many banks and financial service providers that issue credit cards. However, the costs and conditions associated with a credit card can vary greatly in individual cases.
The following list is an overview of the things consumers should be aware of when applying for a new credit card.
If you apply for a credit card, you should definitely take a look at the annual fees for it. In many cases, the credit card is part of a package and is offered free of charge. With other providers, the first year is free to attract new customers. After that, there are certain costs per year. Often there are also different offers that start with a free card and are supplemented by chargeable offers where the holder benefits from additional advantages, such as certain insurance policies or discounts.
The number of shops in which a credit card is accepted (acceptance points) is of course extremely important. There are four major credit card companies around the world, and you can apply for their cards through banks or other financial service providers. In Europe, Visa and Mastercard in particular are very widespread, while American Express and Diner’s Club cards are also accepted in many places in North America.