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Headed to the World Cup? Be Sure to Take One of These Cards Along!

Airline Credit Cards, Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
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World Cup Brazil 2014

If you’re heading south to catch a few World Cup games this summer, you’re probably scrambling to brush up on your Portuguese and find a jersey to wear to the event. But it’s also important to consider which credit card you’ll be carrying to Brazil – after all, you don’t want your fun to get fouled!

The Nerds have a few suggestions about which card is best to use during the World Cup festivities, as well as some other important tips for accessing cash abroad. Ready to learn more? Take a look at the details below.

Best overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best travel cards on the market and is a great option for a trip to the World Cup. It charges no foreign transaction fee and offers the added security of chip technology.

The signup bonus? Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. As far as rewards go, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has great earning power: Every time you use the card, you’ll be getting 2 points per dollar spent on dining in restaurants and travel and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Generally, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth one cent apiece. However, they’re worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which drives the value of each point up to 1.25 cents. If you assume that you’ll redeem your points for travel through Ultimate Rewards, you’ll enjoy a 2.50% rewards rate for restaurant and travel spending! Also keep in mind that cashing in your points with Chase isn’t your only option; you can also transfer them to participating frequent travel programs at a 1:1 ratio.

For these reasons and more, you’re sure to score with Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card!

Best for budget travelers: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

If you want the flexibility of booking your travel however you choose, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is the card for you. With this card, you’ll earn 2 miles on every dollar you spend, giving you a 2% rewards rate. Plus, you’ll earn 5% of your miles back when you redeem. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® lets you scour airlines, hotels and discount travel sites for the best deal on your trip, then use your miles to pay for all or part of it.

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® waives foreign transaction fees. Also, Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® carries a killer signup bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit. Since Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® miles don’t expire as long as your account is in good standing, you can save this hefty windfall to go to the 2018 World Cup if you want to!

» MORE: 7 Ways your credit card could save you money on holiday travel

Best for last-minute travelers: Discover it® - Cashback Match™

If you decided to attend the World Cup at the last minute and didn’t have time to set aside the funds for the trip, Discover it® - Cashback Match™ is a good choice. It comes with a great introductory APR offer: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. Plus, you’ll earn 1% cash back with every dollar you spend and 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories throughout the year.

Unlike the other cards discussed above, Discover it® - Cashback Match™ doesn’t carry an annual fee. It also doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee and is accepted in Brazil (international acceptance is sometimes an issue with Discover).

Other cards to consider

If you’d prefer to use a co-branded airline credit card, there are several good options to choose from. The following airlines provide direct flights from the U.S. to Brazil, and each also offers a credit card. Check out the links to decide if the airline’s co-branded card is right for you!

Don’t forget to pack the right debit card, too

Once you’ve made your credit card choice, it’s time to move to pick a debit card for your travels – don’t skip this step! Many vacationers rely on cash advances from their credit cards when they need actual currency, but this will cost a bundle in interest and fees. Using the right debit card will keep these charges to a minimum.

For international use, our favorite debit card issuers are:

  • Capital One 360 – You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees with a Capital One 360 debit card, but the downside is that the bank uses the Allpoint ATM network. There aren’t any Allpoint ATMs in Brazil, so you’ll still get hit with a fee for using an out-of-network ATM.
  • Charles Schwab – Charles Schwab waives foreign transaction fees and will reimburse you for any ATM fees incurred abroad. However, you have to have a Charles Schwab brokerage account to get a debit card.

So there you have it, sports fans. With the Nerds’ suggestions above, your finances will stay in good form as you watch your team go for the goal!

World Cup image via Shutterstock