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Travel: Cash, debit or credit card? What you should pick, per an expert

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Travel: Cash, debit or credit card? What you should pick, per an expert

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A recent IndiaLends study has revealed that over the past one year, nearly 50% of all credit card applications are for travel-focused cards, with women accounting for nearly 52% of that demand. In 2022, nearly 48% of applications for travel-based credit cards come from members between 24-35 years, followed by 52% from members between 36–45 years. Geographically, this surge in applications is most prominent in the metropolitan cities of Bengaluru (30%), New Delhi (26%), Mumbai (20%), and Hyderabad (12%).

According to the latest IndiaLends travel report, an increasing number of Indian travellers now favour credit cards as their primary mode of payment while on trips. (Pexels)
According to the latest IndiaLends travel report, an increasing number of Indian travellers now favour credit cards as their primary mode of payment while on trips. (Pexels)

On the IndiaLends platform, Axis Bank Vistara credit card, American Express Platinum Travel card, and SBI ELITE card credit have emerged as the most preferred among travellers.

Though there are several options, for most travellers, the big debate of the use of cash vs debit vs credit vs travel-focused credit continues. In an exclusive interview, Gaurav Chopra, Founder & CEO, IndiaLends, delves into what’s the best payment method/s during international travel.

What are the spending patterns of Indian travellers during international trips?

According to the latest IndiaLends travel report, an increasing number of Indian travellers now favour credit cards as their primary mode of payment while on trips. This shift in preference is primarily because of the convenience that credit cards offer. They allow you to make quick transactions, avoid carrying large sums of cash, and access enhanced security features. This shift indicates an evolving financial landscape where travellers increasingly prioritise security, transparency, and rewards.

Currently, what are the most used credit cards?

Some of the most used credit cards among travellers include the Axis Bank Vistara credit card, American Express Platinum Travel card, and SBI ELITE credit card, which have emerged as top-preferred options on our platform. These travel credit cards offer various benefits, such as airline miles, travel rewards, lounge access, and other perks, making them popular choices for individuals who frequently travel and seek to maximise their travel-related advantages.

Which payment option should one choose? Cash, debit, credit card or travel-focused card? What are their advantages/disadvantages?

Which payment option should one choose? Cash, debit, credit card or travel-focused card? What are their advantages/disadvantages?
Which payment option should one choose? Cash, debit, credit card or travel-focused card? What are their advantages/disadvantages?

There has been an increase in demand for partner credit cards, for example, the Vistara credit card. Are these really a good option? Why?

Partner credit cards, like the Vistara credit card, can be a practical choice for travellers who frequently fly with the associated airline or stay at related hotels. These cards often offer valuable benefits such as bonus miles and priority boarding, enhancing the travel experience and saving money in the long run. However, assessing your travel habits and spending patterns is essential to ensure that the card’s rewards and perks align with your needs.

How much cash one can legally carry on an international trip? Is it a good idea to do a mix of cash/cards?

Indian travellers must note that they cannot carry more than INR 25,000 while travelling abroad. That does not mean you can’t travel with foreign currencies or any other means of payment.

As for the mix of cash and cards, it’s generally advisable to combine both. Carrying some cash is helpful for small expenses, emergencies, or situations where cards may not be accepted. However, relying solely on cash can be risky due to theft or loss. Using cards, especially credit cards, provides convenience, security, and a record of your expenses. A mix of cash and cards provides flexibility and financial security during international travel.

Tips to protect oneself from card skimmers and other credit/debit card fraud during an international trip. What’s the first thing one should do if the cards are lost/stolen?

Protecting yourself from card skimmers and card fraud while travelling internationally is crucial. Regularly monitor your card statements and set up transaction alerts to promptly detect suspicious activity. If your cards are lost or stolen, immediately contact your bank to report the loss and request card replacement. Have a backup payment method, like a second card or cash, securely stored separately from your primary cards to ensure financial security during your trip.

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