Going Global? Here’s What You Need To Know About Cash vs. Debit Card

What's the best way to buy things when you're traveling internationally? Whether you're going to Paris, Hong Kong or Mexico, you want to ensure you're prepared to buy the things you want and need.

Reddit user Nateee2021 posed the question: “When traveling internationally, why is it better to get cash at the ATM to pay for meals, shopping, etc…. rather than using a debit card for those things?”

Here are some of the answers they received.

Some Places Only Take Cash

WallieMac responded by saying:

When I was in India some places only took Indian credit cards… having Rupees on hand saved the day.

Many countries are cash-based, so having cash on hand helps to ensure you can buy the things you need while you're out of the country. The last thing you want to do is have something you need or want and be unable to purchase it because you don't have the cash to do so.

You Can Save on Fees

Reddit user Mad-Tryst had this to add:

It's not necessarily better. You have to take the various fees and currency conversions into account. Not every place takes debit/credit cards, you can get charged fees to use them or forced to spend some minimum amount. Sometimes cash is easier and cheaper.

Even if you can use your debit card,  depending on the card, you'll have to pay more fees than you'd want to. Those fees can quickly add up over the course of your trip. On the other hand, cash can help eliminate the need to pay those pesky extra costs.

Credit Cards Offer Protection

Baguetteandbleu wrote:

I have found that using a CC is always better than using a debit card for the simple fact that with any kind of fraud you’re not putting your own money at risk. The CCs are insured vs. giving someone direct access to your bank account. It’s just hard to trust anything that you put your card into nowadays with all of the technology used to commit fraud. Even ATMs. A lot of good travel/airline/hotel CCs have no fees for foreign transactions/conversions as well.

Even though we're focusing on debit cards and cash, it's good to note that credit cards are a better alternative to debit cards in many situations. Credit cards tend to offer an additional layer of protection you can't get with cash or debit cards.

Exchange Fees Could Make You Pay More

According to Redditor Tuymaadaa:

It also depends on where you’re going- most of the world still operates on a cash economy and while they’ll happily accept USD or Euros, you’re depending on a vendors math for conversion and may end up paying more than if you’d just given them local currency.

When you use your debit card you might have to pay more because you have to depend on the vendor's conversions.

You can read the full thread on Reddit.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks