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Ditching the cash for this year's ski season

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For many, the annual ski trip is a tradition that they've been doing for years, so you'd think that they knew everything there was to know about preparing for their trip abroad. That said, one area where perhaps they aren't as clued up as they should be is the area of payments.

Any skier will know that it's much better to pack light when you're on the slopes. No one wants to be carrying around a big bag or have full pockets. This is why having to carry cash around is seen often as a bit of a chore. When you want to make a payment and get that mid-morning hot chocolate or the first round of drinks at apres, the last thing skiers want to do is dig around in your ski jacket for the right change, or some slightly soggy notes.

It's no wonder then that more of us are choosing to use our credit or debit cards while skiing. After all, why carry your wallet around when all you need is a single card. It also means you're prepared for all eventualities. Imagine being without access to funds when sheltering from difficult conditions half way down the mountain. Some resorts also cross country lines. Your Euros might not be so helpful when you ski across the border into Switzerland.

Paying with a card is much more convenient, but it does mean that skiers need to understand fully their options when using credit or debit cards abroad. Most importantly, they should know what the difference is between making a payment in their home currency and the local currency.

If the choice is made to pay in the local currency, the currency conversion will be made later by the bank or card provider. They will usually also add their own fees or charges later on, although this varies between providers. Alternatively, the payment can be made in the cardholder's home currency. In this instance, dynamic currency conversion, or DCC, takes place. All charges and fees are added at the point of transaction, and you will get to see exactly what conversion is being applied before you choose to accept.

No one option is necessarily right for everyone, but it is important to know what you are selecting and understand your options. That way, less time is spent worrying about payments, and more time can be spent enjoying carving up the slopes.