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If you’re gearing up to spend a semester abroad, you’re probably making all kinds of preparations — like brushing up on your Spanish or buying larger jeans for a overload in Italy. But have you thought about how you’ll be making your purchases overseas? This is an important consideration, and you should make some decisions before you jump on the plane. Here’s what you need to know about the best way to spend while you’re abroad, as well as Nerds’ recommended card — the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card for Students.
The case for credit over cash
Using cash to pay for your stuff while you’re traveling is certainly an option, but there are some distinct advantages to using credit, instead. For example:
- Taking cash out of a foreign ATM usually comes with a hefty currency conversion fee. But if you use a credit card that has no foreign transaction fee, you won’t have to worry about getting charged extra every time you need to make a purchase.
- Monitoring your spending is much easier with a credit card — just hop online and see how much money you’ve spent. With cash, you’ll have to do your tracking by hand, which is tedious and difficult.
- Pickpocketing is a real problem in a lot of cities — especially for tourists — which makes carrying cash dangerous. A stolen credit card can be canceled and replaced, but cash is gone for good.
Using a credit card while you’re traveling abroad is probably your best bet, but it’s important to choose the right card. Don’t worry: The Nerds have done the research for you.
Our favorite card for studying abroad: BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card for Students
The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card for Students boasts the “triple crown” of travel benefits: the annual fee is $0, it charges no foreign transaction fees, and it has an EMV chip. You might say, “Well, not having to pay those fees sounds great, but why should I care about the chip?” Glad you asked! An EMV chip in your card keeps your transactions much more secure than a traditional magnetic-stripe card, and chip cards are standard in many countries around the world. On top of that, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card for Students has a rewards system of 1.5 points earned for every dollar spent, which can be redeemed to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages and more great travel stuff. Its APR is 0% for 12 months on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 21.74% Variable — and there’s a signup bonus: 20,000 BankAmericard Travel Rewards Points Bonus after spending $500.
Bottom line: Carrying a credit card while you’re studying abroad is safer and cheaper than using cash, but it’s important to pick the right card. Considering its straightforward rewards system, the introductory APR of 0% and that coveted “triple crown” of travel benefits, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card for Students is our pick for best credit card for studying abroad. So along with your basic-phrases book and extra socks, make sure you pack your BankAmericard for your semester abroad.