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How to Avoid Hidden Fees When Using Your Credit Card Abroad as a Moroccan Expatriate

25 Jul 2023


Most Western countries have robust economies breeding expansive and thriving job markets. These countries and their respective job markets create an immense appeal for people from outside. It is one of the reasons that people from developing countries like Morocco travel to developed countries to earn a living because the opportunities these migrants have access to in developed countries are almost nonexistent in their native country. They send money to Morocco to offer financial support to their families when they earn better abroad.


A Morocco World News reported that an estimated 5 million Moroccans, about 15% of the country’s total population, live in countries other than their own for disparate reasons.

An Oxford Business Group study has reported that the large Moroccan diaspora consists of young and highly-educated professionals.

These Moroccan migrants, according to a report by the World Bank, sent in $10.7 billion in personal remittances in 2021.


Where technology has made transferring funds easy and convenient, choosing the right method of so doing is quite a challenge for all expatriates, including Moroccan migrants. They, at times, choose Credit cards to move funds, thinking them to be the best options available.


But as every tool is not meant to fix every problem, similarly, every gadget available in the financial realm is not meant to open all the financial knots.

Therefore, the challenges in using a credit card, particularly for online money transfers, are many, with hidden fees being the primary ones.


This blog will throw light on the hidden fees that come with the usage of a credit card with ways to avoid these charges.


But first, let’s take a look at the Moroccan economy to understand why its people travel abroad to find employment opportunities to earn a living and support those financially dependent on them through a money transfer to Morocco.

The Moroccan Economy

  • The World Bank reported that in 2021, Morocco had a GDP of $142.87 billion.
  • The GDP per capita income in Morocco in 2021, according to another report by the World Bank, was $3,795.4.

From the outset, these figures point to a relatively strong economy in the region and, therefore, should not be a reason for you to migrate from Morocco. But there are several other reasons prompting you to migrate from Morocco.


Take a look at some of the other Reasons To Migrate From Morocco.


Owing to several reasons you have just learnt about, people from Morocco travel abroad. Otherwise, the country itself has so much unique-to-Morocco-only to attract outsiders.


Do you want to learn about some of the unique facts about Morocco?

Well, the following unique facts about Morocco have most likely escaped your attention so far.
 

A Few Unique Facts About Morocco

  • Morocco is home to one red and one blue city.
  • Morocco was the first country to recognise the USA and opened its ports to start trading with it in 1777, less than a year after America declared independence.
  • There are about 7 wine regions across Morocco, but alcohol is hard to find
  • Mint tea is Morocco’s national drink
  • Morocco’s distance from Europe is only about 9 miles or 14.4841 km


Let’s now take a look at the challenges concerning fees while using a credit card. Remember that these charges largely remain hidden from you unless you keep a close eye and have known and thoroughly understood the following.


These hidden charges are one of the big reasons that render credit cards unfit for your online money transfer to Morocco.
 

A Few Common Credit Card Hidden Fee Types And Avoiding Them

Although every credit card comes with some or all of the following charges, the first step is to choose a card that comes with the least of charges. Still, the fees that come with one such card can be skipped altogether in the following few ways.

Avoiding Annual Fee

Almost every credit card comes with an annual fee which is commensurate with the value of benefits you receive with a given card. But you can avoid paying this annual fee by getting cards that come and are now available in the market with zero annual fees.

Avoiding Finance Charge

A finance charge is the kind of interest you accrue on carrying a revolving balance beyond your card’s due date and grace period.

You can avoid paying it easily if you keep paying your credit card balance each month in full.

Avoiding International Transaction Fee

Most credit cards charge 3% of the total transaction cost if you purchase something from abroad. But this fee can be avoided if you use a) a card that charges no such fee (and there are many) and b) if you use a travel credit card.

Avoiding Balance Transfer Fee

You usually incur these charges when you transfer the balance from one credit card to another to get a lower interest rate or to consolidate debt. 

You can avoid paying these charges with a card that does not charge at all or charges 3% instead of the standard 5%.

Avoiding Late Payment Fee

You will incur these charges on paying your credit card bill past the due date.

Make sure to pay your dues well before the deadline or timely to avoid these charges.

Avoiding Card Replacement Fee

If your card is stolen and you want to get a new one, your service provider may charge you for it. If this happens, you can check other options to get a new card from some other service providers that may charge you nothing.

Avoiding Over Limit Fee

If you cross your credit limit, you will incur over-limit charges. Make sure to keep an eye on your credit limit and try to stay well behind your card’s limit.

These are some of the simple ways in which you can keep an eye on the hidden fees and also avoid paying these charges.

The Way Forward

A simple solution to avoid all such charges, particularly if you want to send money to Morocco online, is to find a service provider that charges you low fees and offers live and competitive currency exchange rates to compensate for the fee you pay, if at all in the first place, during the process, for which your best bet is ACE Money Transfer.


FAQs

Are there any specific credit cards that are better suited for Moroccan expatriates travelling abroad to avoid hidden fees?

Yes, some credit card providers offer special travel-friendly cards with reduced foreign transaction fees. Before travelling, it's advisable to research and choose a credit card that explicitly mentions low or no foreign transaction fees for international use. Additionally, consider contacting your current credit card provider to inquire about their foreign transaction fee policies and potential options to minimise fees while abroad.


How can I determine if my credit card charges foreign transaction fees?

To find out if your credit card charges foreign transaction fees, review your card's terms and conditions, which can usually be found on the issuer's website or provided with the card documentation. Look for information on "foreign transaction fees" or "foreign currency conversion fees." If you are unsure or cannot find the relevant information, it's best to contact your credit card provider directly for clarification.


Should I use my credit card for cash withdrawals abroad, or are there better alternatives to avoid high fees?

Using your credit card for cash withdrawals abroad can be costly due to cash advance fees and higher interest rates. Instead, consider using a debit card specifically designed for international use, as these may have lower or no withdrawal fees. Another option is to carry a reasonable amount of local currency from Morocco and exchange it at reputable currency exchange offices or withdraw money from ATMs using your debit card.


Are there any additional fees associated with dynamic currency conversion, and how can I avoid them?

Yes, dynamic currency conversion (DCC) can lead to additional fees when you make a purchase abroad and choose to pay in your home currency (e.g., Moroccan Dirham) instead of the local currency. Merchants often apply unfavourable exchange rates and charge extra for this service. To avoid DCC fees, always opt to pay in the local currency of the country you are visiting and decline any offers to pay in your home currency at the point of sale.


What other precautions should I take to avoid hidden credit card fees while travelling internationally?

Besides choosing a credit card with favourable foreign transaction fee policies, there are several additional steps you can take:
 

  • Inform your credit card provider about your travel plans to prevent them from flagging your overseas transactions as suspicious activity.
  • Keep your credit card safe and be vigilant against potential theft or fraud during your travels.
  • Avoid using your credit card for small purchases, as frequent transactions may attract additional fees.
  • Familiarise yourself with the card's billing cycle to plan your expenses accordingly and avoid unnecessary interest charges.
  • Regularly monitor your credit card statements and transactions online to detect any unauthorised or fraudulent charges quickly.

By being proactive and well-informed, you can minimise hidden fees and make the most of your credit card usage while travelling abroad as a Moroccan expatriate.



Resources

  • Moroccan diaspora

(The Moroccan Diaspora: A Factor to Consider in Governmental Policy Making (moroccoworldnews.com)

  • Oxford Business Group

(Morocco has a sizeable diaspora living worldwide - Africa 2016 - Oxford Business Group)

  • Inward remittances

(Personal remittances, received (current US$) - Morocco | Data (worldbank.org)

  • Moroccan GDP

(GDP (current US$) - Morocco | Data (worldbank.org)

  • Moroccan GDP per capita

(GDP per capita (current US$) - Morocco | Data (worldbank.org)

  • Unique facts about Morocco

(The 35 Most Interesting Facts About Morocco (parenthoodandpassports.com)


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