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Saturday, September 01, 2018

Travel Credit Cards Overview

This time, we traveled with the Capital One Quicksilver and Amazon Prime credit cards for travel use. Both offer no-fee international transactions, which is why I started using CapitalOne credit cards in the first place.

The Capital One credit card I've used before, but for 2018, there was a twist that made the card really useful when in Europe: NFC wireless built in! What's even better, for small amounts like what you'll typically buy in a grocery store, if you use the NFC chip, they don't make you sign for your purchase! This made me not even bother with Google Pay on my phone. All cards should have this feature.

The Amazon Prime credit card was new to me for international travel. I think I learned not to trust credit cards that claim no-fee international transactions, since you won't know about any hidden fees until you get home and check your purchases. I was sparing with it, but I can confirm indeed that it has no fees for international transactions, now that checked my statement. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an NFC chip.

One trick you want to use is to set a pin on your credit card before you travel. This takes a month or so, on occasion, but what it does is to allow you to use your credit card to buy train tickets, where the machine demands a pin. I did this with the Capital One card, and it works well. (No, the train ticket machines don't take NFC)

The Amazon Prime card offers quite a bit more benefits than the Capital One card. The lack of NFC might be worked around by you setting it to be your default card on Google Pay. But I didn't really try Google Pay in Europe this time. That'll be an experiment for future travel. I'll probably try to use the Amazon Prime card a lot more next time, now that I'm confident that the "no-fee" clause is true.

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