6 tricks to spend wisely during a semester abroad

Personal Finance

Keep an eye on exchange rates before going abroad to decide when to exchange your U.S. dollars for the currency of your destination. You will definitely want to show up with some of that country’s currency in hand for immediate needs (like taking a cab from the airport or buying a subway pass, for example).

Where you exchange money can make a big difference in how far your dollar goes. Using a credit card will save you almost 9 percent from an airport Travelex kiosk, and almost 7 percent compared from currency exchange services offered by local banks, according to a 2017 WalletHub study.

Always make purchases in the local currency using your credit card, said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com.

“Oftentimes, merchants will ask you if you’d like to do the purchase in U.S. dollars,” Schulz said. “While that might sound like a good idea, it can really cost you. That’s because that merchant won’t be able to match the currency exchange rates that your card issuer can get — and they might even slip in an extra fee or two in the process.”

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