Are you a tourist or visitor in Dubai and UAE with an international credit card?

It’s generally a good idea to use your international credit card in Dubai and UAE but here are the 10 things to consider before you swipe that card:

1. Foreign Transaction Fees

Does your international credit card charge you a “foreign transaction fee” like 3%? If yes, factor that in your purchase price or don’t use it.

2. Cashback and Rewards

Does your international credit card offer good cashback and points? Then it makes even more sense to use it.

3. Inform Card Issuer of Upcoming Travel

Have you informed your credit card issuer about your upcoming travel? If not, your purchases may be denied in a foreign country.

4. Card Type – Visa or Mastercard or American Express?

Is your international credit card a Visa, MasterCard or an American Express (AMEX) card? Almost all stores accept Visa/MasterCard, but AMEX acceptance is on the lower side. (The Points Habibi has created a American Express (AMEX): A Comprehensive Guide of where AMEX is and is not accepted in Dubai and UAE)

5. Dynamic Currency Conversion (costs more)

When swiping your card in Dubai and UAE (or even any other country), the merchant might ask you if you want to charge in the local currency UAE Dirham or your home currency? Always, and I repeat always, select the local currency, in this case UAE Dirham. If you select your home currency for convenience, you will be charged more. This is due to a concept called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) where all banks involved charge a fee to convert that amount to an amount easier for you to process in your mind. You can read more about tips to avoid DCC at The Points Guy.

6. Online Purchases

If you’re doing an online credit card purchase in Dubai and UAE, some online merchants only accept a UAE or GCC issued credit card.

7. Funds in your home country

Do you have a bank account in your home country which has enough funds to pay off the international credit card for your international purchases? If not, you would have to do an international wire to add funds to the account to pay off the card, which would make you eventually lose money in the process.

8. Minimum amount for card purchases

Even though credit cards are accepted everywhere, some stores also have a minimum amount for the credit card purchase.

9. Carry Cash

In general, it’s a good idea to carry local currency in cash. Don’t exchange at your home airport. Exchange currency in your destination country preferably outside the airport (but depending on your schedule, you’d rather have exchanged somewhere and have local currency handy).

10. Interest on your Purchases

In general, it is a thumb rule to avoid paying interest on your credit card purchases. The interest voids all your convenience and cashback with a higher amount. Always pay off your balances in full, and avoid debt.

Have you used your international credit card in Dubai? What is your experience?

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