Stress-free payment during your holidays – this works especially well with a credit card.

Credit card tips

What are the best uses of credit cards while on holiday?

Nowadays, you can't really go travelling without a credit card. Find out when and how to use it abroad and save money with these ten tips.

Jörg Marquardt

1. What currency should I use for payment?

If possible, the local currency. Example: if you can choose between euros and Swiss francs on a card reader, always choose the local currency. A dynamic currency calculation is applied when you choose Swiss francs. This incurs additional fees – often more than two per cent of the purchase amount.

2. When is cash better than a credit card?

It is better to pay tips and small amounts in cash. For all other payments, use a credit card.

3. What are my fees?

Depending on the provider, foreign currency fees can vary abroad – sometimes two per cent per payment. Holders of the Cumulus credit card are completely exempt. Card providers determine the exchange rate at which foreign currencies are converted in relation to the bank. It is, therefore, worth comparing the terms and conditions in advance. In addition, as with all card providers, there is a transaction amount that the customer’s bank transfers to the respective card company and for which the customer is charged a fee.

4. Should I also use the credit card to withdraw cash?

It depends on the card. With the Cumulus credit card, you can withdraw up to CHF 500 abroad twice a year for free. Other credit cards charge around ten Swiss francs the first time you use them. Important: additional fees may apply depending on the ATM. However, it is the foreign bank that charges these fees – not the credit card issuer.

5. What are the advantages of credit cards over cash?

A credit card allows you to pay for unplanned expenses immediately, and there is no need to exchange money for the local currency. In addition, your money is better protected against theft through proof of identity with PIN and other factors (Face ID, Touch ID). Additional protection for cards is provided by the “chargeback” method: if your card was charged incorrectly, you can initiate a chargeback up to 30 days later.

6. How do I remain able to pay at all times?

Check the maximum spending limit of your credit card before you travel. Keep in mind that if you reach the limit, the card will no longer be accepted. Limits vary for each provider. You should apply for an increase early if you expect higher expenses during your trip.

7. What should I look out for when paying?

Never hand over your credit card to anyone else. For example, have the card reader brought to your table in the restaurant or go with the waiter to the cash register to pay. Be sure to check the payment amount displayed on the device. Always enter the PIN hidden from view.

8. And what additional services does the card offer?

The range differs from provider to provider. Some include travel cancellation or international travel health insurance. Others cover the cost of lost or damaged luggage. The Cumulus credit card offers a particularly wide range of benefits. In addition to travel interruption insurance, the insurance cover includes search and rescue costs in the event of an accident. And with the Cumulus credit card, you collect points every time you use it – even while abroad.

9. Is the mobile phone credit card better than the physical one?

No. “Physical” credit cards are usually the best form of payment. You can also use them to withdraw cash. Virtual credit cards on your smartphone only work with contactless ATMs, but these systems are not yet available everywhere. Provided everything works, credit cards stored on your phone cover the same applications as “physical” cards.

10. What should I do if I lose my card?

Report the loss immediately. Many providers have a 24-hour service (blocking emergency call) in place. You can usually find the phone number on the back of the card or on the card statement. Make a separate note of this number next to your card number before your trip. Many credit cards can be blocked using a mobile phone app; for Cumulus credit cards use the app “one – control over your cards”.