Methods of payment on business trips • From booking flights and accommodation to paying for meals, there are a variety of different payment methods available. The options are: • currency • travellers’ cheques • credit cards • debit card • cheques • By travelling with a combination of the above options, a business traveller can minimise the risk of theft or loss while still ensuring that money is available when required.
Currency All travellers should have a small amount of foreign currency when they first arrive at their destination. Different countries have their own type of money; in Britain the currency is the pound (£), in most European countries the currency is the euro (€) and in America the currency is the dollar To pay for incidental items such as newspapers, snacks, bus tickets or cab fares travellers should always carry a small amount of local currency. It is not advised that travellers carry large amounts of cash in case of theft. Most travel insurance polices limit the amount of cover for cash to £250.
Travellers’ Cheques Available in all major currencies and in a variety of different denominations, travellers’ cheques are signed by the traveller on receipt and then again when used. The second signature must be completed in the presence of a cashier who should also check the traveller’s passport for identification purposes. Like cash, travellers’ cheques are a convenient and easy-to-use method of payment which is accepted worldwide. However, unlike cash, travellers’ cheques are replaced if lost or stolen. It is important that the traveller records the serial number of travellers’ cheques as these are required in the event of theft or loss.
Credit Card A traveller may use a credit card to purchase goods and services or obtain cash advances. Instead of paying the cash at once, a statement is received every month. The traveller can choose to pay for the items at the end of each month or carry the debt over into the next month. If the balance is not paid in full by the ‘payment-due date’ interest is charged on the outstanding amount. Most foreign businesses take credit-card payments and many automatic teller machines (ATMs) around the world accept credit cards. However, some credit-card companies charge customers a fee for using it outside the UK. On the other hand, the exchange rate used is much more competitive than those offered by most foreign exchange bureaux.
Debit Card Banks issue debit cards to customers who hold a current account. At home, debit cards are used to withdraw cash from ATMs and pay for goods and services. Unlike credit cards, debit-card payments are (almost) immediately deducted from the holder’s bank account. When abroad, debit cards can be used at many ATMs to withdraw cash in the local currency. Many banks are part of international alliances but travellers should first check with their bank to determine which ATMs will accept their debit card.
Cheques Cheques are a relatively safe method of paying for travel and accommodation in advance if the trip has been organised through a UK agent. However, cheques are of no use to the traveller if the trip is outside the UK. If a traveller requires a cheque to be made out in a foreign currency this must be arranged through a bank for which a fee of approximately £20 per cheque is charged.