For those who wish to travel abroad either for leisure or business, it is always better to have an international debit card for the time spent in a foreign country. This is because if a customer chooses to use his/her domestic debit card abroad, then the charges for spending as well as making withdrawals at ATMs will certainly be exorbitant. To ensure that one is not charged extra on their travels and have it easy, banks in India offer their customers international debit cards. The money in the account will be still be in the local currency, but when making a withdrawal or a transaction abroad, the local currency is converted to the foreign currency - based on the currency conversion rates of the day. In addition, international debit cards come with discounts and attractive offers as well as a travel insurance - which is absolutely imperative. That’s said, let’s discuss the features and benefits of availing an international debit card and the factors that customers need to consider when availing a international debit card from their local bank. Let’s begin.
Features and benefits of an International debit card
Listed below are some of the features of international debit cards and the benefits that customers will receive on availing them:
- Using an international debit card, bank customers can make transactions abroad in almost any foreign currency - be it online or at a POS terminal. The money in the account will be in Indian rupees, but converted when one is making the transaction.
- By having an international debit card on your travels abroad, the customer does not need to carry around physical cash - relaxing the possibilities of a the customer either losing the cash or it getting stolen.
- If in case the international debit card is stolen or lost, the customer can immediately block the card from anywhere on the globe, to avoid cash being extracted from it.
- For every transaction abroad, a PIN (Personal Identification Number) is required to complete the transaction - enhancing the security of the card. In addition, now, most international debit cards come with an EMV chip, that adds a layer of security to every transactions that is made by the customer.
- Customers can make withdrawals at ATMs across the globe in the foreign currency of the place. This is a big advantage because if a customer makes a ATM withdrawal using his/her domestic debit card, then the transaction charge is exorbitant.
- When a customer makes a transaction or a withdrawal abroad, though the customer is making the withdrawal or transaction in foreign currency, the money is debited from the local bank account that is linked to the card. This will help the Indian customer from knowing the balance in the account and keep a track of his/her expenses.
- As already mentioned in the introduction, international debit cards come with specialised discounts, airport lounge access, fuel surcharge, offers for travel tickets, and an accidental insurance cover as well as an international air travel insurance cover.
- Customers holding the international debit card can assign nominees to their account.
Factors to consider when availing an international debit card
Though banks offer international credit cards as well, availing an international debit card is less of a hassle, cheaper with regard to the fees an so on. That said, customers need to keep the below listed points in mind when availing an international debit card:
- If you are availing an international debit card just before a travel - be it for business or for leisure - always ensure that the card that you are availing can be used in the country you are travelling to to make withdrawals at ATMs and transactions at POS terminals. If not, then you will be charged an exorbitant fee for every transaction or withdrawal. Find out the coverage of the card and make sure to read the fine print of the terms and conditions when availing the card.
- When availing an international debit card, ensure that you know exactly what the joining fee and the annual fee is. Some banks offer international debit cards for no fee at all, and if your travel is going to be short and the card comes with a steep annual fee, it probably would be better not to avail the card and look for other alternatives.
- Make sure that you know exactly what the conversion fee is. Since the money in the card will be in Indian rupees, when making a transaction or a withdrawal, the conversion fee will kick in. Make it a point to get the best conversion rates with your international debit card.
- Usually, when making a transaction using your credit card internationally, one is charged a certain fee - around 2%-3% of the transaction cost - but in most cases, international debit cards come with no cost. That said, to be on the safe side, verify this fact with the bank as well before availing the card.
- Since you can make ATM withdrawals using your international debit card with no extra charges, make sure that you know exactly what the daily withdrawal limit of your card is. Keep in mind, the withdrawal limit will mostly be specified in Indian Rupees, so make the calculation in the foreign currency you will be spending in and make an estimate of the withdrawal limit.
- Apart from the daily withdrawal limit, as with domestic debit cards, international debit cards too come with daily spending limits. Ensure you check the spending limit of your card before setting out on your trip. As with withdrawals, the bank will specify the daily spending limit in Indian rupees, make the conversion calculation and estimate what the daily spending limit will be.
- Most international debit cards come with a coverage for loss of card or loss of baggage. A sort of insurance, if the traveller is in such a predicament, the bank will advance a certain amount to ensure that the one can take care of himself/herself during this period.
- International debit cards also come with personal accident cover and air travel accident cover. If such an eventuality does take place, ensure that your nominee takes the right steps to avail the coverage.
1. When making a transaction or a withdrawal abroad, will all foreign currencies be available?
It depends on the international debit card that you have chosen and the bank. Hence, it is required for you to do a background check of the foreign currencies available with the card before availing it.
2. What should I do if I’m using an international debit card and getting charged for every transaction?
Ideally, such an situation should not occur when you are using an international debit card abroad. That said, if it does happen, contact the bank immediately, explain the situation and request them to look into the problem immediately.
3. Do I have to pay extra for the personal accident cover or the air accident cover that comes with international debit cards?
No, once you have availed the card, all the insurances coverages that come with it are free of cost. That said, in some cases you might have to buy the coverages at a nominal cost. Cross check with the bank on this matter.
4. What’s the first thing that I should do if I have lost my international debit card and my baggage?
If this has happened, call the bank immediately and avail the loss of baggage cover. The advance that the bank will send you will suffice till you find a solution to the problem.
5. What should I do if I have crossed the withdrawal and spending limit for the day when I’m abroad?
If you have surpassed the withdrawal and spending limit for the day, then unfortunately you won’t be able to use your international debit card for that day.
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