Studying and traveling abroad may be one of the greatest experiences you can have while in college. Meeting new people, learning about new cultures and taking in all the sights and sounds of your temporary home are all part of what make it such an adventure. One way to help ensure your sojourn abroad is as hassle-free as possible: a credit card. Consider these four reasons for why you should use a credit card while studying abroad.

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1. Credit Can Be Cheaper Than Cash

You probably don’t want to carry all your cash in your wallet, and debit cards can come with hefty foreign transaction fees and international ATM fees. And when you’re taking money out multiple times per week, all those charges are going to add up.

“I find [using a credit card] particularly helpful when you are doing a multi-country trip, so you don’t have to deal with any local currency,” shares Patricia Pretell, a recent Harvard Business School grad living abroad in Peru. “I once had to do a work trip across eight countries in Latin America, dealing with each country’s local currency would have been a huge pain!”

Luckily, using a credit card abroad may save you some money. First, you won’t be hit by those transaction fees. Second, if you choose the right card, you won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees. That means you can buy all the souvenirs you can afford without worrying about paying extra.

2. You’re Covered In The Event of Fraud

You might lose your wallet or it could be stolen while abroad. This kind of stuff just happens. If you’re carrying cash, there’s no way you’re getting your money back. But with credit, you may be able to freeze your account in seconds and have a new card sent to you overnight. Typically, your card can be monitored for fraudulent purchases and with some cards, you may not be liable for anything a thief purchased on your account.

3. You Can Earn Rewards Anywhere

Studying abroad isn’t all play. You’ll be hitting the books pretty hard too, so why shouldn’t you get rewarded? “The additional perks come in handy when traveling,” says Pretell. Some typical rewards include cash back, airline miles, free credit alerts, and fraud protection — all of which can come in handy no matter where you are.

Not only that, some cards, like the Discover Student Card, offer things like rewards for every year that you maintain a GPA over 3.0. Knowledge isn’t just its own reward anymore.

4. You Build Credit Even While Abroad

Building credit is one of the main advantages to carrying a credit card and you’re not doing that if you’re using cash. While you’ve got one eye on the Eiffel Tower, the other one should always be looking toward the future. If you charge sensibly and pay your bills on time, your credit history may improve when you buy tickets for an eye-catching attraction…and pay off that balance responsibly.

You’ll learn a lot, meet new people and have once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you’ll be telling your friends about forever during your semester abroad. And if you invest in a credit card and spend wisely, you’ll be reaping the rewards of more than just knowledge.

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Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.