Don't end up getting caught out when using your credit card on that holiday in the sun
The recent severe service disruption to the Visa electronic cards system was a stark reminder of just how much we depend on the plastic in our pockets and purses.
Many of us will bring a debit and/or a credit card to use on holiday, but we need to be careful that we do not end up getting singed in the sun by credit and debit card fees.
A survey of 1,000 people found around half of holidaymakers plan to take a small amount of cash to start off with and then use ATMs.
A large number will use their debit and credit card as normal, according to a survey by iReach Insights for comparison site Switcher.ie.
The survey shows a real lack of understanding around the fees that could be charged for doing so.
The majority of people either don't know or aren't sure of the charges for the likes of ATM withdrawals, using a credit card to withdraw cash, and paying by credit card or debit card in shops or restaurants abroad.
This could lead to some unplanned and unwanted charges, especially for the three in 10 consumers who are travelling outside of the European Union.
When you withdraw cash in a non-eurozone country, you are charged a percentage of the transaction value each time, and you may have to pay a foreign exchange fee, too. You also face similar charges for using your card to make payments in shops and restaurants.
Using a Visa debit card within the eurozone will not incur additional charges over and above what the consumer normally pays. But making purchases abroad anywhere with a different currency will incur charges.
AIB will charge 1.75pc of the transaction value for using a debit card, with a minimum charge of €0.45 and a maximum of €11. Bank of Ireland charges 2pc of the transaction value to a maximum of €11.43 per transaction.
Consumers using a credit card outside the eurozone will be charged a currency conversion fee, and a cash advance fee if the credit card is used to withdraw cash. You will also be charged interest on any purchases and withdrawals on your credit card unless you clear the balance every month.
If you are withdrawing money outside the eurozone, AIB charges 2.5pc of the euro value, and there is a commission charge of 1pc (a minimum of €2, and a maximum of €6).
Bank of Ireland charges 3.5pc of the transaction value.
The fear is that people are letting the prospect of a holiday cloud their thoughts on the need for good financial planning.
This means consumers would be wise to plan in advance to ensure they don't come home to big credit card bills.
Sunday Indo Business