Money Matters

Accessing Money

When accessing your money, consider the various currency rates and foreign transaction fees. Exchange rates and bank charges can add up. Some local businesses may not accept debit or credit cards, so consider carrying some amount of cash at all times. Don’t forget to notify your banks and financial institutions about your overseas traveling, so they don’t report fraud or suspicious activity - even freeze your cards!


We highly recommend that students carry some amount of cash with them at all times. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to exchange your U.S. dollars to the local currency (Euros, Yen, British Pound, etc.), make sure you check the exchange commission rate. Some airport kiosks or money exchange services will charge a higher fee. Consider visiting your local banks in the U.S. to request foreign currency notes. Allow a few weeks for your bank to process the request. Some banks do require a minimum amount. We advise our traveling students to request the most up-to-date information from their financial institution. 

Debit Card

Debit cards are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to withdraw cash while abroad. There are many ATMs available in most countries. Some ATMs only withdraw money from your checking account, so put that into consideration if you have other accounts such as savings.

Credit Card

Most major credit card companies are accepted abroad (Visa, MasterCard, etc.). More recently, credit cards offering zero foreign transaction fees have become more popular, while some of them still charge a standard foreign transaction fee, and not all credit cards are the same.

In some parts of the world (Europe, Asia, etc.), the “chip-and-PIN” bank cards are only being accepted to avoid fraud. These cards are slowly being implemented in the Northern American system as well. If you are traveling with credit cards, for added security be sure to ask your bank for embedded chips and set up a PIN.