Credit Cards for Studying Abroad

A credit card is indispensable for a stay abroad, as in the USA, Canada, Great Britain or Australia. Here, the credit card is used as a daily means of payment.

Generally speaking, it is possible to use a credit card to make both cheap and convenient purchases. Particularly on the Internet, it is often impossible to make a payment in any other way. Many online shops, airlines and other providers only accept purchases and orders for which customers pay by credit card. In this way they do not take any risks.

Advantages of a credit card especially abroad

Payment by credit card abroad offers many advantages over cash payment or payment by EC card:

Less cash needed

Credit card holders do not have to worry about their current cash holdings. Too few notes, forgotten „inventories“ before shopping or regular visits to ATMs are no longer necessary.

Short-term credit

Each credit card payment means a short-term „mini credit“, because the purchase or payment amount is 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 notes and coins. A blocking of the card can, however, protect against misuse and limits the personal share of the losses. In contrast to EC cards, the bank must assume liability.

Faster payment

Anyone who has already paid with a credit card abroad wonders how quickly payment is made: A Ritsch-Ratsch has the receipt printed out almost simultaneously, countersigning with the signature, done. Looking for money from your wallet, handing it over, counting change and handing it over often takes longer.

Exact proof of expenditure

A detailed monthly statement provides you with all the options for tracking your credit card payments. This simplifies the overview and answers questions about the whereabouts of the money, which cannot be answered when paying in cash.

Online payments

Payment by credit card in online shops and auction houses is common practice today. Unlike e. g. payment in advance with an EC-card, credit card users have a much better negotiating position in case of problems (no delivery, data theft etc.). The chances of a refund or replacement delivery are considerably better for a credit card.

Possible reimbursement of costs

The different conditions of the individual credit institutions may even include reimbursement of the annual card fees. If certain maximum limits are reached, the card is then – despite the annual fee – free of charge.

Additional bonuses/discounts on purchases

Many cards are linked to certain partner companies or bonus campaigns. For the holder, this means attractive bonuses that reward card use.

Easier to live in foreign countries

If you pay by credit card abroad, you do not have to deal with foreign currencies or unknown banknotes, for example. Credit cards make life much easier – especially for newcomers on international soil. Furthermore, you probably never heard of EC cards on the other side of the world.

Criteria for a good credit card abroad

If you are looking for a new foreign credit card, or even want to apply for a new card 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 from case to case.

The following list provides an overview of what consumers should look out for when they apply for a new credit card.

Annual fees

Anyone applying for a credit card 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. For other providers, the first year is free to attract new customers. Thereafter, certain costs are incurred per year. In addition, there are often different offers that start with a free card and are supplemented by paid offers in which the holder benefits from additional advantages, such as certain insurance policies or benefits.

Points of acceptance

The number of shops in which a credit card is accepted (acceptance points) is of course enormously important. There are four major credit card companies in the world whose cards can be applied for through banks or other financial service providers. Visa and Mastercard are widely used in Europe, while American Express and Diner’s Club cards are widely accepted in North America.

Amount of interest

The interest rate for the credit card is especially important if the entire invoice amount is not transferred. Each card has an interest-free payment term. The owner often receives the settlement at the end of the month, for example. After that, you can take a little more time, but after that you will have to pay high interest rates. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, it is important to know the level of these interest rates.

Credit interest

Some providers even lure customers with credit interest with a connected account or pure online account. In this way, the credit card account can also be used as a call account, on which the credit at least yields a small return.

Account management via the Internet

If you would like to use online banking, make sure that you can manage your own card in this way. It is not only a question of transferring the monthly account, but also of monitoring the expenditure in order not to lose sight of the big picture.

Package with EC-card / Girocard

In recent years, many banks have started offering credit cards as part of an account package without charging fees. For example, bank customers often receive not only an EC card, the so-called girocard, but also a credit card for the current account. This is often even free of charge – at least in the first year. If you only use your credit card once in a while for payments, you should consider this alternative.

Subsequent settlement

The frequency with which bills are sent is of great importance for credit card holders. After all, you get practically an interest-free credit from the respective provider until the settlement. If the billing is done monthly, you can spend a lot of money at the beginning of the month, but the billing has to be paid a few weeks later. This makes it very easy to bridge short-term liquidity problems.


Not only the annual fees play an important role with credit cards, but also the possible premiums. Many providers work with a number of partner companies that offer points, rewards or discounts for purchases.

Cash abroad

If you don’t want to be dependent on the exchange of money abroad, you can also use your credit card to withdraw money at the ATM. The exchange rate is often comparatively cheap. In addition, some credit cards do not even charge any further fees for withdrawing money.

Fees for payments abroad

For payments abroad, it is important to pay attention to the amount of the fees. This is usually a certain percentage of the invoice amount. Before using your credit card abroad, you should know this percentage to avoid expensive surprises later on.