Payments safer than ever abroad

payments travel abroad streetIt is safer than ever before to make payments abroad, the Norwegian Consumer Council claims. Photo: Dinero.no

Payments safer than ever whilst travelling

Making payments abroad are currently safer than it has ever been before. The Norwegian Consumer Council, nevertheless, advises travel-loving Norwegians to take certain precautions.


Last year, Norwegians spent around NOK 107 billion abroad. The statistics indicate that Norway is a card-payment country; domestically alone, Norwegians withdrew NOK 63 billion from ATMs and in shops in 2018. Norwegians made payments using cards for NOK 867 billion. It is then natural that most Norwegians prefer using cards abroad, as well. Credit or debit cards – linked to Mastercard or Visa – are the safest options.

This applies not only to payments abroad but also when buying, for example, flights or hotel stays. 

“The ability to complain to someone at home, as a creditor, is an added security layer when you book flights and hotels both far away and with different laws and regulations,”  Senior Legal Adviser of the Consumer Council, Thomas Iversen tells Dinero.no.

“It’s safer than ever to make payments abroad,” he points out.

Why are credit cards the safer option? The answer is, quite simply, that credit card purchases are protected by law through the Finance Contracts Act, which among other things, states that you can make claims against the bank – if you do not receive the ordered item, or if the company you shop from is bankrupted. Two examples:

The travel agent you have bought tickets from goes belly-up

The holiday home you have booked is non-existent

Mobile pay is safe as well

Actors such as Apple Pay and Google Pay entered the Norwegian market not too long ago. Despite the fact that mobile payments are growing in Norway, card payments, however, still account for the majority of transactions.

Since an increasing number of Norwegian banks offer these services, Mobile payments will, most likely, become more popular when abroad. if we are to believe Iversen of the Consumer Council, this is at least as safe as card payment.

“As for purchases through Apple Pay and Google Pay, you will be able to complain to the card company that is linked to the account. At least as long as it is a credit or debit card linked to Mastercard or Visa,” he explains.

Transactions made by smartphones are encrypted. the encryption thereof is considered a safer payment option than conventional card payment in most cases. Due to this security feature, it is difficult for unauthorized persons to abuse your card information. 


Always opt for local currency

A recurring tip from the Consumer Council is to choose local currency if you have the choice between that or conversion to your currency. If you choose to carry out the transaction in Norwegian kroner rather than the local currency, the owner of the ATM (or terminal) will determine the exchange rate.

“Given a choice – don’t select NOK, stick with the local currency,” Iversen stresses.

Paying in Norwegian kroner may seem practical and predictable, but the truth is that you as a customer lose large sums of money on repeated transactions. The reason is that the bank or retailer determines the exchange rate to a greater or lesser extent in that case. This is often much poorer than the payment network that Visa and Mastercard provide. 

It also pays dividends to use a debit or credit card that allows you to withdraw cash at no extra charge, in order to curb your expenses whilst on holiday.

Related articles

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5 tips for those who have credit card debt

Reasons not to withdraw cash at the airport


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