This is exclusively for people visiting Malaysia. I have no clue if these tips and tricks work in other countries. Though I’m 100% certain that these barely heard credit card hacks will bring value to everyone on vacation here.

1. Let your bank know if you’re going to another country

When using your Visa or Mastercard in another country, your bank might suspect fraud. That’s why you need to let them know if you’re planning to stay in another country and for how long.

But security isn’t the only reason why you should tell them.

Banks have their hands on a lot of investments these days, and believe it or not, they sometimes have affiliations with airlines or hotels. They’ll immediately let you know of an ongoing promo they have with their partners in a country, and you can certainly take advantage.


2. All credit or debit card transaction should be set for local currency

Banks make money out of money exchange. That’s why it’s always wise to set your card transaction to a country’s local currency.

This alone can save you hundreds to thousands of ringgit.

This doesn’t only apply to when you’re going to a different country. This could also work when you’re buying from an online store.

Because these stores can set a different rate for a certain currency, and most of the time, they’re much much more than their local currency rate. Sometimes, it can go up to 7-10% of its original amount.

3. Use a card that doesn’t charge extra for international transactions

When you’re in [COUNTRY] as a tourist, sometimes they charge you 1% for International Service Assessment (ISA) for transactions made while traveling to another country. But many banks and credit unions are asking for much more. It can go up to 3% for each transaction for some banks. And they even go higher in some seasons. If your expenses went up to MR5,000 during your travel here in Malaysia, you can be paying up to MR150 for a 3% interest rate.

4. Have a Plan B when your card gets stolen

Like in every country in the world, even in the Vatican, people steal stuff. Especially a plastic card that has access to your finances.

That’s why it’s always better to have a plan B when this happens.

Before traveling to Malaysia, know first if your bank has a branch here or affiliate institutions that can help you when your card gets stolen. List their contact numbers just in case.

Make sure to also list down your credit card and passport number and to always, always keep them on a different pocket away from your credit card. Because if they get stolen too they wouldn’t have that much use now won’t they?

5. Find a nearby ATM that caters to your credit card

Use global ATM locators so that you can note where you can run your credit and debit cards when you’re staying at a certain place in [COUNTRY]. You wouldn’t want to walk around asking people if ‘they know’ where the nearest ATM aka Money-Spitting Machine now would you?