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Old 14-05-2021, 08:35   #1
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Question Best Credit Card for cruisers?

I'm not sure if there really is one that maybe offers some kind of insurances, or maybe a high cashback on fuel/marinas that is worth choosing?
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:41   #2
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

None specific to cruising, but international travel. Benefits to look for:

- travel/emergency medical coverage

- rental car damage insurance

- emergency travel services

- no foreign transaction fees

- good customer service


I have a CitiBank card that has all the above.
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:57   #3
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

I chose mine based on having no foreign currency transaction fees. Not many available like that in Canada.
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Old 14-05-2021, 09:02   #4
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
I have a CitiBank card that has all the above.
Which Citibank card are you using with it all? I know their Double Cash is the most popular.

Thanks
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Old 14-05-2021, 09:05   #5
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

You want at least 2 of them, preferably one Visa, one Mastercard connected to different accounts at different banks.

The insurances etc. are something you really need to do the math on and read the fine print very closely. I decided in the end to take out an insurance for travel and recovery myself and not pay some credit card company for it. You get nothing for free - never.

A big factor if you're around many foreign countries with local currencies are the costs to withdraw local cash and the surcharges for foreign payments. Credit-cards are about the best way to get local currencies. In some countries exchanging money at bank is a major undertaking, often needing travel to the correct bank at the correct time and then you filling out forms without end. So the conditions on these can be a lot more important than any bundled insurances. Those 2% here and there all the time add up and the flat fee of $15 every time you get cash adds to costs too.

The exchange rates offered by the credit-cards were in my experience always fair or even better than what was offered locally. One trick some companies like to run on you is to offer to charge US$ or € instead of their BananaPesos. Don't do this, this is just a scam that they convert at their rate instead of getting the more favourable one from the credit card company. Always have them charge the local currency. And don't think yo can avoid this way the foreign payment surcharge. The credit-card companies wisened up very quickly to this and charge you the surcharge even if the amount is in US$. You'll find it somewhere in the very fine fine-print.
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Old 14-05-2021, 09:33   #6
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

Charles Schwab Bank debit cards are useful at ATMs because they refund fees.
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Old 14-05-2021, 09:50   #7
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

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Charles Schwab Bank debit cards are useful at ATMs because they refund fees.
They refunded us a $20 ATM fee that we incurred getting US$ by mistake in Mexico! Good customer service also.
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Old 14-05-2021, 09:53   #8
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

Wise (formerly TransferWise). Primarily a way to send money (like Paypal) internationally with lower fees/cheaper rates, you also get a credit card that will work worldwide in the local currency of where you are. Since it works as the local currency, the ATM won't charge additional exchange fees.

I also use a credit union, which has lower fees than most banks.
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Old 14-05-2021, 10:19   #9
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

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Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
Wise (formerly TransferWise). Primarily a way to send money (like Paypal) internationally with lower fees/cheaper rates, you also get a credit card that will work worldwide in the local currency of where you are. Since it works as the local currency, the ATM won't charge additional exchange fees.

I also use a credit union, which has lower fees than most banks.
Same for me, Wise is the best way to pay in different currencies and avoid ATM fees.

JM
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Old 14-05-2021, 10:39   #10
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

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Charles Schwab Bank debit cards are useful at ATMs because they refund fees.
This is what we use. We also get a higher rate of exchange at the ATM with Schwab if we decline the bank's conversion rate. At Scotia Bank it explicitly states on the screen the bank's conversion rate is an additional 12% above the national exchange rate! Yes, 12%! Each bank has a different exchange rate on the same day. (I did a test once to see.) People mistake a low ATM fee for a good deal, when in fact the bank is making up for it with crappy exchange rates.

In Mexico, we pay for EVERYTHING in pesos now. In the beginning, we used a credit card at a Pemex gas station for fueling up the boat, twice. Both times, the number was compromised and we had to cancel the card. Even had a problem with a mainland marina charging our card after we were long gone.

So now, we pay in cash but do keep a burner card if for some reason we 'need' to use a credit card.
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Old 14-05-2021, 12:06   #11
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

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Originally Posted by HSV Sailing View Post
Which Citibank card are you using with it all? I know their Double Cash is the most popular.



Thanks
Im not entirely sure which version of their gazzilion cards this is. It is a CitiBank Gold Card that also earns miles on American Airlines. Ive had it for like 25 years, used to be my business travel card.
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Old 14-05-2021, 14:17   #12
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

Avoid using Credit Cards as much as possible! Cash is king... We saw as much as 10% additional fees for the privilege of using Credit, at least in the Caribbean. So we always took local currency out at an ATM. We have a Chase private client checking account with Zero ATM fees and Zero foreign currency transactions fees, and they will reimburse any fees that the local bank/ATM applies.... free money. Nothing is better than that! I think we use our credit card less than a dozen times a year.
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Old 14-05-2021, 15:26   #13
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

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Avoid using Credit Cards as much as possible! Cash is king... We saw as much as 10% additional fees for the privilege of using Credit, at least in the Caribbean. So we always took local currency out at an ATM. We have a Chase private client checking account with Zero ATM fees and Zero foreign currency transactions fees, and they will reimburse any fees that the local bank/ATM applies.... free money. Nothing is better than that! I think we use our credit card less than a dozen times a year.
Until Covid we traveled OS a lot. India, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa, England, China, Japan, Europe. We usually check out buying foreign cash locally well prior to travel. You can check competitive exchange rates and fees and sometimes make large savings. It's called doing your homework.

Some banks also have special "travel cards" but they are not usually particularly warranted.

We have also used the "black market" occasionally. i.e. offering our currency directly to shop keepers, tour operators, small hotels. Mixed success, but it can really work well sometimes if your currency is in high demand. We sometimes carried Euros or US dollars as they were more acceptable than Aus $'s.

Another issue is that if you want to do internet based transfers while overseas, the banks are more likely to accommodate these transfers if they have been informed prior to departure of your itinerary.

We also had some issues with credit/debit cards in Holland. A supermarket accepted our credit cards one day, but the next day would only accept debit cards. Weird.
We had a rip off attempt from a South African car hire company that claimed we damaged their vehicle (which we absolutely did not). They presented us with a large bill after we returned home. We immediately changed our credit card details. A friend in the tourist industry told us that this was common as the car hire company assumed that we had insurance and would happily pay up.
When on a cruise ship, the cost for a visit to the medical centre for a 'flu infection (presumably transmitted around the ship by a poor filtration system) was determined by the insurance cover we had. I pointed out that the infection was their fault and could I have some compensation, which elicited a large document which absolved the ship company of just about every conceivable claim.

However, security is also essential.
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Old 14-05-2021, 21:28   #14
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

best credit card for cruisers ?

any one that does not keep running out of available credit like our present one does...

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Old 15-05-2021, 00:28   #15
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Re: Best Credit Card for cruisers?

Very country-specific, both where you hold the account and where you're spending the money.
Usually Visa offer the best coverage abroad, but Mastercard probably offers lower charges.
In the UK, major banks are aggressively self-aggrandising, only Building Societies appear to be less grasping, but usually less serviceable.
I've found Nationwide one of the most serviceable operations, Barclays the most grasping with Lloyds close behind them in milking their clients.
Starngely enough, I found Credit Agricole to offer the best client conditions throughout the EU, but not for use in the UK. My branch was in the Morbihan, locals almost indistinguishable in character from Devonians, from where I hail.
As regards credit limits - mine are far in excess of what I ever spend - in 6figures.Then I've always been aware of credit reporting syatems, having used Experian and Equifax extensively in the past.
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