If you have the opportunity to travel, travel, or study abroad in Europe, you may have many questions about what kind of credit card you should bring to Europe and how to pay with your credit card.
Is there a way to use a credit card that can be prepared in case of emergency, avoiding the trouble of not being able to use the credit card that I thought I could use?
This article will thoroughly explain the benefits of using a credit card in Europe, the recommended credit card to bring, and the payment method with a credit card.
Benefits of using a credit card in Europe
Even if you don’t usually use a credit card, we recommend that you make full use of your credit card when you go to Europe.
You may think that credit cards are scary, but they are safer than carrying cash overseas.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using a credit card in Europe one by one.
① You don’t have to carry big money
Overseas, security is often worse than in Japan, and carrying large amounts of money increases the risk of being involved in crimes such as pickpocketing and theft.
Also, because Japanese people have the image of being rich, they may even be the target of crime just because they are Japanese. Therefore, it is very dangerous to carry a large amount of money overseas.
Even if you bring Japanese yen, it isn’t easy to find a money changer who can exchange Japanese yen at your travel destination. In addition, it can be dangerous to keep Japanese yen in a suitcase, even in a room at an overseas hotel.
Wherever you can use a credit card, you can pay by credit card, so you don’t have to carry extra cash with you.
In addition, most credit cards issued in Japan come with loss and theft insurance so that you can be compensated for damages in unlikely events.
However, if you carry cash with you and are stolen, there is no compensation, and you have no choice but to cry and fall asleep. Therefore, it is safer and more secure to carry a credit card with you than cash.
② Exchange fees are cheaper than cash
Although the card situation in Europe is advancing, some places such as street stalls cannot use credit cards. Therefore, you need to have some cash.
To procure local currency, we recommend cashing your credit card at an overseas ATM.
If you exchange Japanese yen into a local currency such as the EU, you will be charged a 2.0% to 4.0% exchange fee. In addition, if you exchange money at the airport, you may be charged a 10% fee.
With credit card cashing, the exchange fee is 1.6-2.0%, so the fee is cheaper than exchanging cash.
What’s more, by cashing only when you use it, you don’t have to re-exchange unused local currency into Japanese yen. You can avoid having to double the exchange fee by converting it back to the Japanese Yen.
In addition, you can withdraw local currency at ATMs in the city without having to search for a money changer, so you don’t have to go back and forth in unfamiliar places.
③ Can be used for deposits at hotels, etc.
Although it is not customary in Japan, it is common to be asked for a deposit (insurance payment) when staying at a hotel overseas.
Overseas, credit cards are used as deposits because they provide identification to prove your ability to pay. A copy of your credit card may be taken as ID at check-in.
If you do not show your credit card, you will be required to pay a deposit as high as or more than your room rate, and you will have to carry an extra-large amount of cash with you.
Of course, the deposit will be refunded when you pay the room rate.
Credit cards to use in Europe
Even if you have a credit card, you may not be able to use it. Here are some of the features of credit cards you should bring to Europe to avoid such a situation.
Characteristics of credit cards to be used in Europe
International brands are VISA or MasterCard
Highly secure credit card with IC chip
Credit card with overseas travel insurance
International brands are VISA or MasterCard.
Regardless of which company issues the credit card, such as banking, credit card, or distribution, the store where the card can be used depends on the international brand of each card.
Of the five major international brands such as VISA, Mastercard, JCB, AMEX and Diners Club, VISA has the largest share globally, accounting for 58% of the total, and Mastercard has the second-largest share of 26%.
In other words, VISA has the most usable stores in the world, followed by Mastercard.
To find out which credit card you can use, check the international brand stickers that you can use at the store at the entrance and around the cash register.
If you go to Europe, you should bring a VISA or Mastercard credit card, which has many stores worldwide.
Also, be sure to bring two or three credit cards, not just one.
In the event of fraudulent use, you must immediately stop using the credit card.
Even if it is not abused, it is possible that you will not be able to use your card due to some trouble, such as being sucked in at an ATM and not coming out, the magnetism breaking, and you can not read the card information, or forgetting your PIN.
If you have multiple cards, you can continue your trip without any problems in the unlikely event of trouble.
How to tip with a credit card
It is a custom that is not very familiar in Japan, but in Europe, it is customary to tip depending on the country.
There is an image of tipping in cash, but in fact, you can pay with a credit card as well as cash.
When paying by credit card at a restaurant, etc., enter the amount in the “Tip” or “Gratuity” column of the slip and change it to the payment amount, including the tip.
Then, you will be able to settle the amount, including the tip. A tip is 5 to 15% of the price.
Don’t leave the tip field blank and mark it with a cross if you don’t want to tip. If left blank, the shop may fill in a tip and be billed.
However, if the slip amount already includes a tip, you do not need to pay an additional amount.
Credit Card Summary in Europe
The credit card situation in Europe is different from that in Japan. If you try to use a credit card like in Japan, you may fail and be in trouble.
When you go to Europe, be sure to bring a VISA or Mastercard credit card with an IC chip. Also, if you have good overseas travel insurance, you can feel more secure.
Credit cards have additional travel-friendly services provided by their respective card companies.
If you have a credit card, there is no reason not to advantage of those ancillary services. Before you leave, make sure you know what services your credit card comes with.
Instead of taking the cash you need during your stay in Europe in Japanese Yen and exchanging it, cash it with your credit card and raise the local currency from the ATM.
That way, the fees are cheaper, and you can save yourself the trouble of finding a money changer who can exchange Japanese yen. And above all, you don’t have to carry a lot of money and endanger yourself.
Keeping these points in mind will minimize your money troubles in Europe.