Should I use a Credit Card when Booking my Holiday?
If your holiday costs more than £100 (up to £30,000), it is a good idea to pay for it, or part of it, using a credit card. This is because S75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes the credit card issuer equally liable for any breaches of contract, including the tour operator going broke, or the holiday they provide not being the holiday you booked. However, this provision only applies if you book directly with the tour operator, and not through a travel agent. Be wary, although your debit card has visa written on the front, our experience is that it does not provide the credit card level of protection.
If you use a Visa debit card it offers significantly better protection. Their scheme is called Visa Debit Chargeback and any bank that issues a Visa debit card has to comply with the scheme. You can claim money back if the goods you buy are damaged, or the product or services are not delivered. There is no limit on what you can claim. But you have to claim within 120 days of the date you expected the goods to be delivered or the firm going bust. However, you do get significantly better protection if you use a credit card.
What about charges using my card abroad?
The best way to get cash abroad is to use a debit card. In almost all countries, there are adequate numbers of cash dispensing machines where the traveller can make withdrawals. If you use a credit as opposed to a debit card, you will always be charged a cash advance fee, commission on the transaction and interest from the date of the withdrawal. Some debit cards still provide free overseas withdrawals, but the scene is constantly changing. When using card abroad, take the usual precautions at the ATM, check for onlookers or devices on the machine that may seem unusual. Don't forget, much of the credit card fraud in the UK is committed by criminal gangs that have migrated to UK from the continent. Some stayed at home!
Credit Cards & Medical Insurance
it is not unusual for us to hear people say " I don't bother with travel insurance unless I am forced to. I use the credit card cover". Unless it is provided by a bank specifically as travel insurance as is the case with some types of account, this insurance provides very limited cover, the extent of which is dependent upon the terms and conditions imposed by the card issuer. It is never adequate cover. Any responsible tour operator requires you to have adequate travel cover, though they are not permitted to require that you buy their insurance policy.