APACS, the UK payments association, and ABTA have published advice for consumers using their payment cards abroad.

The guide – Using your Plastic Overseas – provides tips and useful information for holidaymakers and business travellers who will be using their cards abroad this summer, the organisation say.

APACS statistics show that there were 309 million overseas transactions on UK-issued cards last year, accounting for half of all overseas spending.

Available from websites http://www.choosingandusing.com/and www.cardwatch.org.uk, the guide includes tips on what to do before, during and after your trip abroad to minimise the chances of being a victim of fraud. It also provides information about the types of charges you may incur when withdrawing cash at a cash machine abroad or when making a purchase overseas using your card.

APACS communications director Sandra Quinn said: “As a nation we are all using our cards more frequently abroad so it pays to be aware of any extra costs that may be incurred for using them overseas, as well as taking steps to protect them from fraud. Card thieves are hoping to catch us relaxed and off-guard when we are overseas, so we need to take the same sensible precautions with our cards abroad as we would in the UK.”

Travellers overseas can help ensure that using their cards abroad is a hassle-free experience by following common sense advice such as:

  • Make sure your card company has up-to-date contact details for you – including a mobile number, especially if you are travelling overseas.
  • Make sure you have the 24-hour contact phone numbers for your cards – in case you need to speak to your card company. 
  • Safeguard your PIN at all times. Don’t give it to anyone – even if they claim to be from the police or your bank.
  • Shield your PIN with your free hand when typing it into a keypad in a shop or at a cash machine.

ABTA head of communications David Marshall said: “Although there are a range of payment options available for UK consumers going abroad, paying with plastic is an increasingly popular choice. The advice in this guide provides holidaymakers with a variety of useful information that can help ensure a safe and stress-free holiday.”

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