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Paying while on holiday


Travel is an enjoyable way to spend money! What you need to watch out for when you are abroad, to avoid incurring charges when using cash, credit cards and debit cards.

An illustration showing a 20 euro banknote folded to form a paper aeroplane that is flying over a tropical island.


Usually it is cheapest to withdraw cash in the destination country that you are travelling to. Only change a small amount of money into the local currency prior to travelling, to be able to cover initial costs upon arrival like taxi fares, snacks or tickets. In your destination country you can withdraw cash from autoteller machines (ATMs) or you can exchange it in a bureau de change. Look closely at the charges and fees and exchange rates!

Cash declarations and customs checks:If you are entering or leaving the EU with EUR 10,000 or more in cash (or the equivalent amount in other currencies), you must notify the customs authorities about the amount.

Customs authorities may check travellers, their baggage and means of transport, and may confiscate cash sums that have not been notified.

Credit and debit cards

Find out whether and which cards are accepted in the country that your travel destination is in. Be aware of your withdrawal limit and change it prior to your journey.

Debit card:Ask your bank about the cost of cash withdrawals abroad, as well as there is the possibility of free cash withdrawals at partner institutions. ATMs operated by third-party providers often charge high fees. These fees are required to be displayed before the transaction is conducted. You can cancel the withdrawal process at any time! If you use GeoControl remember to deactivate it for the country of your travel destination.

Credit card:There are no charges for payments within the euro area, however there are fees for payments made in foreign currencies. Using a credit card for cash withdrawals is very expensive. Credit cards do have the advantage that they frequently also offer additional insurance cover.

Warning, hidden costs:Always pay in the local currency and avoid immediate conversions into Euro at ATMs and in businesses! The dynamic currency conversion usually uses exchange rates that are more expensive and therefore disadvantageous for you.

Security:Block your card immediately if it is stolen or lost! To do so, call your bank, your credit card provider or the emergency hotline number for blocking debit cards. You should also report a stolen card to the police! Check your credit card bills and account statements regularly, and inform your bank immediately if there are dubious account movements.

Third-party ATM:

an ATM that is not operated by a bank, but which is operated by another company, and which can frequently be found at airports and tourist attractions.


is a security function that is offered for debit cards and which restricts the usage of cards in specific geographical regions, in order to reduce the risk of fraud and misuse. You can manage the respective settings in your online banking app and modify them as necessary.

Further information

AK-Bankenrechner:offers a comparison for fees for debit and credit cards both within the euro area and outside of it –

Emergency Hotline for Blocking Debit Cards (Bankomatkarten-Sperrnotruf):can be reached from abroad on +43 1 204 88 00 between 3pm and 8am on weekdays, or otherwise around the clock.

A to Z of Finance:

You can find basic information about insurance on our website in the A to Z of Finance section. > A to Z of Finance