All cards are different. Of course, ATM and CREDIT cards are completely different with different fees, benefits and dangers.
For example, I used my ATM card to make a purchase at Office Depot in Sri Racha, Thailand a few years back. In those days, your full account number was listed on the receipt, of which, Asian companies usually print 2 or 3 copies for every transaction. And within hours of making that purchase, most of the money in my bank account was drained.
Even though after filing and signing the necessary papers I received my money back into my account, I had to live without those funds for over a month. For most people, that could be extremely difficult.
Had I used my credit card, it is possible that the fraud department would have been triggered by the strange transactions and immediately notified me (the ATM card use did not trigger fraud). They would have frozen the card, and immediately given me credit for the charges. It would not have affected the money in my bank and wouldn’t have caused me the same level of stress.
ATM cards let you get cash easily and relatively cheaply. CREDIT cards charge terrible fees and much higher interest when you use them to obtain cash.
Every bank has a different fee structure on purchases made internationally … from 0% to 4%. They have different annual fees from a $10 debit card annual fee to a $450 premium credit card annual fee. During promotions, they waive the first year, or might waive succeeding years if your spend is high enough.
Travel cards offer various mileage benefits providing free travel and other services, such as no fee to check a bag and priority boarding. Some cards come with ANY AIRLINE – ANY SEAT travel program where you are not required to use any particular airline. Depending on your needs, these can be good or bad programs for you to join.
The purpose of this site is to correct many misconceptions about using debit and credit cards internationally, and avoiding the many fees that some cards will charge you. We hope you enjoy the work we have done and find it useful. We welcome your comments.
Kuripot R. Keeneow