Holiday costs at a glance: What to pay when paying with debit and credit cards

Card payment (Photo: Robert Spohr).
Card payment (Photo: Robert Spohr).

Holiday costs at a glance: What to pay when paying with debit and credit cards

Card payment (Photo: Robert Spohr).
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More and more travelers are using plastic cards for their financial transactions abroad. But hidden expense traps often lurk behind supposedly free withdrawals and payments. A current study by the Chamber of Labor (AK) shows that high fees can be incurred even in euro countries, especially for withdrawals from ATMs using credit or debit cards.

Especially outside the euro area, these fees can increase dramatically and cause unexpected costs. A current AK study highlights the pitfalls holidaymakers should be aware of when using plastic cards abroad and how they can avoid expensive fees.

The expense trap in the euro area

The use of ATM cards, also known as debit cards, appears to be a cost-effective option for holidaymakers in the euro area. But here too, you need to be careful: banks or ATM operators can charge additional fees, especially when using ATMs that are not part of their own bank network. These extra expenses can amount to up to ten euros. Consumer advocates therefore advise caution and recommend canceling the transaction if there is a risk of high fees. Although there are generally no fees for credit card payments in the euro area, fees of up to 3,3 percent of the amount can be incurred when withdrawing cash.

High costs outside the euro area

It will be particularly expensive for holidaymakers traveling outside the euro area. There are high fees not only when withdrawing cash, but also when paying with credit or debit cards. These can vary depending on the bank and credit card company. An example: In Turkey, just withdrawing 400 euros can incur up to 20 euros in expenses. AK's research shows that both credit and debit card users face high costs, particularly in countries such as Turkey and the UK.

Tips for paying without fees on vacation

To avoid expensive fees, travelers should follow a few tips: It is worth paying attention to the fees involved, especially when using ATMs outside of your own bank network. Even when withdrawing small amounts, minimum fees may apply, which make the transaction unprofitable. If the card is lost or stolen, it is important to have it blocked immediately and inform the relevant bank. An emergency note with important contact details should be kept separately from the card so that you can act quickly in an emergency.

Transparent fees and clear information

AK's research shows that many banks and credit card companies use different fee models, which can cause confusion for consumers. Clear and transparent communication about expenses incurred is therefore important in order to avoid surprises on vacation. Before departure, travelers should also check whether their bank has special offers for foreign payments in order to avoid expensive fees.

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Editor of this article:

René Steuer is an editor at Aviation.Direct and specializes in tourism and regional aviation. Before that, he worked for AviationNetOnline (formerly Austrian Aviation Net), among others.
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About the editor

René Steuer is an editor at Aviation.Direct and specializes in tourism and regional aviation. Before that, he worked for AviationNetOnline (formerly Austrian Aviation Net), among others.
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Nobody likes paywalls
- not even Aviation.Direct!

Information should be free for everyone, but good journalism costs a lot of money.

If you enjoyed this article, you can check Aviation.Direct voluntary for a cup of coffee Coffee trail (for them it's free to use).

In doing so, you support the journalistic work of our independent specialist portal for aviation, travel and tourism with a focus on the DA-CH region voluntarily without a paywall requirement.

If you did not like the article, we look forward to your constructive criticism and / or your suggestions for improvement, either directly to the editor or to the team at with this link or alternatively via the comments.

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