Can I Use My US Credit Cards While Permanently Overseas?

Can I Use My US Credit Cards While Permanently Overseas?

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“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

We get a lot of questions asking about the best credit cards to use for international trips. But what if you’ll be outside of the US for more than just a few weeks, as TPG reader Todor asked us in an email…

I am currently considering moving to Singapore and I would like to know if I will be able to use my US issued credit cards permanently in Singapore?

TPG Reader Todor

Excellent question, Todor. The quick answer to your question is yes — you can definitely continue to use most if not all of your US-based credit cards while living overseas. The major issuers — American Express, Chase and Citibank — all told us there are no limits on how long you can use their cards outside of the US.

That been said, you do need to do a few things to prepare to use your credit cards abroad for the long term. First, your ability to actually use your cards in a new country depends on whether credit cards are widely accepted in that country. It shouldn’t be an issue in a place like Singapore, where card use is widespread, but in other places it might not be quite so easy. So do some research about your new home to determine if credit cards are a widely used form of payment.

Before you go, you should contact each of your issuers to let them know you will be using your card outside of the US on a regular basis. This will help avoid constant fraud alerts. While you’re on the phone with them, you can also change your mailing address to the one in your new country if you have it ahead of time, though you’ll want to strongly consider receiving your statements and documents via electronic delivery to avoid a long delay in getting overseas mail.

Credit Card Transaction Using the New Security Electronic Chip Technology
EMV chip technology is more common overseas than in the US. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Most US credit cards have now implemented EMV chip technology, but if you still have any old cards with just a magnetic stripe, ask for a chip replacement. Chip terminals are much more common outside of the US so things are likely to go smoother if you have cards with chips. Unfortunately credit card PIN numbers still aren’t anywhere near as prevalent here as they are overseas, but if you do have any credit cards that can be assigned PINs, ask your bank to do so as you’ll find regular use for them abroad.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that when using your US credit cards in another country, you’ll usually be making purchases in the local currency, not in US dollars. You’ll also potentially be subject to foreign transaction fees on practically everything you buy, which would more than offset any gains you’d get earning travel rewards for those purchases. That’s why it’s vital to choose cards that waive foreign transaction fees and stick to them exclusively overseas, even if it means missing out on a bonus category here and there.

Finally, most banks require you to pay US credit card bills using US funds, so it might be a good idea to maintain at least one checking account here on the homefront and use it to pay your credit card statements electronically online. Otherwise if you try to pay them from an international account with foreign currency, there will likely be significant bank fees to convert the funds to US dollars.

But if you follow these few simple steps, Todor, you should have no problem using your cards in Singapore for the long haul. Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image courtesy of David Cleveland/Getty Images.

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July 14, 2017 at 12:31PM

News: Aperol Spritz Social welcomes stars to Netil 360, London

News: Aperol Spritz Social welcomes stars to Netil 360, London

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Aperol Spritz has welcomed the stars to Netil 360 in London as part of a series of extraordinary rooftop events that are popping up in UK. The ‘Aperol Spritz Socials’ will encourage revellers to make the most of the after-work moment, taking the Italian Aperitivo experience to the next level.

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July 14, 2017 at 12:08PM

News: Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park opens in China

News: Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park opens in China

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Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park has taken the brand into Greater China for the first time. Marriott International and Dossen International Group signed an exclusive development agreement to bring the Fairfield by Marriott brand to mainland China in September 2016.

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July 14, 2017 at 11:46AM

News: easyJet plans Austria base as insurance against Brexit

News: easyJet plans Austria base as insurance against Brexit

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Low-cost carrier easyJet is planning to establish a new company in Austria as it seeks to protect its business from the impact of Brexit. As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the Luton-based carrier said it would establish a new airline, EasyJet Europe, based in Vienna.

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July 14, 2017 at 11:36AM

News: Qatar Airways chief Al Baker apologies for cabin crew remarks

News: Qatar Airways chief Al Baker apologies for cabin crew remarks

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Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker has apologised for sexist and ageist comments he made in a speech in Ireland. Speaking an event to celebrate the launch of a new route from Dublin to Doha, Al Baker said US airlines were “crap” and their passengers were “always being served by grandmothers”.

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July 14, 2017 at 11:11AM

News: Meliá Coco Beach coming to Puerto Rico

News: Meliá Coco Beach coming to Puerto Rico

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Meliá Hotels & Resorts has announced that its Puerto Rico retreat will be rebranded as Meliá Coco Beach. Previously part of the Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts family, the resort will undergo renovations throughout 2017 to transition to a different brand within the Meliá Hotels International portfolio.

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July 14, 2017 at 10:46AM

Bites: In Bristol, England, a Restaurant Goes Back to Rustic Basics

Bites: In Bristol, England, a Restaurant Goes Back to Rustic Basics

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Peter Sanchez-Iglesias of Paco Tapas. His aim is “something traditionally Spanish.”

Credit
Nick Hook photography

Some chefs serve commercial mayonnaise. For Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, the chef and an owner of Paco Tapas, and Dave Hazell, the head chef, making mayonnaise is a two-day process.

Crab shells are roasted and then infused in vegetable oil for 48 hours. The flavored oil is blended with ingredients like cider vinegar distilled from apples grown in nearby Somerset. The luscious, tangy result is indicative of the kind of culinary rigor and experimentation expected of Mr. Sanchez-Iglesias, who earned his first Michelin star at 23.

At Casamia, the modernist British restaurant where Mr. Sanchez-Iglesias and his brother, Jonray, made their reputations, experimentation might take the form of foams, liquid nitrogen and other sorts of kitchen wizardry. At Paco Tapas, near the Bristol Harbor, it manifests in nontraditional choices like the type of egg (from a Khaki Campbell duck, with an extra yolk added) used to make its tortilla española, with its decadently rich, golden interior. They are coloring within the lines but defining what makes color.

Photo

The barrel-aged Negroni at Paco Tapas.

Credit
Nick Hook photography

“We’re taking stuff from our neck of the woods and turning them into something traditionally Spanish,” said Mr. Sanchez-Iglesias, who was born and raised in Bristol but has spent a significant amount of time in Seville, the hometown of his father, Paco.

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July 14, 2017 at 10:42AM

Chasing the Deal: For Croatia Trips, Appealing Prices for Packages and Flights

Chasing the Deal: For Croatia Trips, Appealing Prices for Packages and Flights

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The waters around Vis, a Croatian island.

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WearActive

Croatia is a popular vacation destination this year for travelers from the United States. Expedia has seen air ticket demand to the country double this summer, compared with last summer, and on the travel search engine Kayak, searches to Croatia between Jan. 1 and May 25 this year for travel from May 26 to Sept. 5 were up 25 percent, compared with the same periods last year.

A holiday to Croatia, even during the peak season in August and September, doesn’t have to be expensive, according to Wanda S. Radetti, the owner of Tasteful Croatian Journeys, a company specializing in custom private trips to Croatia. “Despite the high demand for Croatia, you can find reasonably priced, nice accommodations and affordable group tours in beautiful, historic locales,” she said.

Attractive airfare prices may be another incentive to consider Croatia: Data from Expedia indicate that airfare from the United States to both Dubrovnik and Split this summer is 30 percent lower than it was last summer.

Options for Croatia trips in August and September include a seven-night getaway on the island of Vis, offered by WearActive, a company specializing in active trips. Guests stay in a seaside stone cottage, and activities include yoga, snorkeling, biking, hiking and kayaking. Prices from 990 euros (about $1,130), including accommodations and most activities and meals.

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July 14, 2017 at 10:42AM

Cover Story: Barry Blitt’s “Grounded”

Cover Story: Barry Blitt’s “Grounded”

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Françoise Mouly talks to Barry Blitt about his cover for this week’s issue of the magazine, entitled “Grounded,” which compares the Trumps to Leo Tolstoy.

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July 14, 2017 at 10:04AM

Chino Amobi’s Rerouted Ambient Music

Chino Amobi’s Rerouted Ambient Music

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The Nigerian-American producer Chino Amobi grew up in Virginia, the site of the first permanent British settlement, and often speaks of the outsider’s gaze with which he approached a state so steeped in history. The experience may explain the thirty-two-year-old’s awed fascination with the subject of race in his music. “I would go to school with kids that had the Confederate flag on their backpack,” Amobi recently told Jezebel, “but still want to hang out with me because they listened to hip-hop.”

Amobi was producing and rapping for fun by age twelve. After he enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University, in 2006, he began releasing patchwork cyberpunk instrumentals under the name Diamond Black Hearted Boy. The project continued through his twenties, largely unnoticed, until he was drawn toward a different sound altogether. In March of last year, Amobi released “Airport Music for Black Folk,” a short collection of ambient tracks named after cities—“Malmo,” “Berlin,” “Rotterdam.” Far from the sustained keys and billowing loops of Brian Eno’s ambient opus “Music for Airports” (1978), Amobi’s transcontinental score has a more explicit take on air travel: buzzy synths swell into prominence like a takeoff, asymmetrical percussion mimics the metallic dance of landing gear unfolding, and talk-box samples evoke the chorus of voices, automated and analog, that echo through terminal halls.

Amobi’s output is mostly distributed via his own independent label, NON Worldwide, which he co-founded with his fellow-artists Nkisi, based in London, and Angel-Ho, in Cape Town. Amobi’s latest album, “Paradiso,” released by NON and UNO NYC in May, conjures a decrepit metropolis that runs on chaos—shattered glass, gridlocked traffic, scorched beaches—along with the parallel histories of the NON founders’ native cities and the populations that have travelled through them. There is no shortage of edgy collectives in electronic music, but Amobi and his flock have managed to repurpose the scene’s tropes to tell a story rarely discussed by its denizens. He headlines, along with the Brooklyn singer Embaci, at Saint Vitus on July 20, piloting a flight that fans won’t want to sleep through. ♦

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July 14, 2017 at 10:04AM