When you are traveling abroad hidden fees can take a lot of fun out of your trip. You are going to need a way to get around. Uber is consistently a top provider that is available in over 80 countries, so it is important to know if you are opening yourself up to a lot of hidden fees that you don’t want or need.
The bad news is that you MIGHT get foreign transaction fees but there is a silver lining to this cloud.
With a little preparation, you can avoid them altogether. Let’s discuss how.
Know Your Exchange Rates
Exchange rates can vary wildly and handling your money generally have a good idea that you don’t know anything about the country’s currency. Thus, we highly recommend researching exchange rates. This will help keep those currency exchange folks honest.
As a quick example, one U.S. dollar is equal to:
- 48.15 Philippine Pisos
- 4.02 Romanian Lei
- 0.75 Pound Sterling
- 102.25 Albanian Lek
This makes foreign currency feel like Monopoly money and you’ll overspend, over-tip, and it will continue because you’ll never be sure what things actually cost.
Banks That Don’t Charge Foreign Fees for Using Uber
Alright, here you go, the Holy Grail. These are the banks looking out for your 2am Uber ride back to the hotel from the discoteque.
The next step is to determine if your bank has a foreign transaction fee – you can also read this Reddit for a whole lot more information.
If they don’t know, then ask Uber, as they can probably rattle off a dozen banks for you. We have 3 examples to get you started:
- Capital One 360 checking account
- Chase Sapphire checking
- Citibank (no fees for 40 countries, so check with your bank)
Consider Prepaid Travel Cards
The ultimate way to avoid a conversion fee is to buy currency in advance and we don’t mean you should have someone ship you a box of money. We’re talking about prepaid travel cards and they work like a charm, but there is a caveat we will discuss shortly.
Here are 3 examples of travel cards you can get:
- Halifax Clarity
So, aren’t these just credit cards? Well, the answer is yes and no.
These are cards with a pre-loaded amount of currency which will be the local currency of the country you are visiting. This means that all of your purchases, including Uber, should be transacted exactly as if you were making a local purchase.
This sounds perfect but here is the caveat. First, the card will likely have a Visa logo. So, you should be sure the merchant accepts Visa, and likely some won’t. Uber also may not take it in some locations.
Some Final Words
We know you don’t want to hear this, but you will still have a little homework to do before your trip.
You need to know your exchange rate, make sure your bank doesn’t charge foreign fees, and consider a travel card so that your Uber budget is in one manageable place.
Then, feel free to spend all that fee money on a little something that you can’t get at home!
Image by Ketut Subiyanto