Buying online train tickets - credit or debit card?

I need to book three sets of train tickets online using www.b-europe.com and www.bahn.de. My question is, should I use my Chase Slate Visa CREDIT card or my Charles Schwab Visa DEBIT card to purchase the tickets? Is this type of purchase considered a foreign transaction and therefore have fees associated with it if I use my credit card? I know if I use my Charles Schwab debit card, there would be no fees. Any insight you can provide is appreciated!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

Personally I would use the credit card since you a slightly better level of protection with a credit card in this type of transaction. Get a credit card that doesn't charge fees. It will be a foreign transaction.

Posted by Dawn
Denver, CO
258 posts

Thanks Frank! Would I have more protection if I purchased the tickets using PayPal?

Posted by Thomas
Snyder, Texas
503 posts

Most foreign transaction fees are 3% if the card charges one. Check the price for the same tickets on Raileurope. If the price difference is less than 3%, you could buy from them and pay in dollars.
More and more cards are dropping the foreign transaction fee. Maybe you could get one that doesnt charge the fee.

Posted by Joe
Houston, TX, US
28 posts

I applied for and receive a credit card from Capital One. There are no currency conversion fees. While it would not be a good idea to get a card for this one transaction I am sure you will make many purchases while over there and the fees can add up. I would say go for that card. I may be mistaken but believe Chase in addition to charging you the 3% also may charge $5.00 per transaction. Joe

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2391 posts

One of the reasons most of us recommend against using debit cards for purchases while in Europe is that if your card is compromised, it will drain your account and prevent you from getting any cash until resolved. And it will affect automatic withdrawls and payments until resolved. And it is harder to resolve while on vacation in a foriegn country. In your case, you are making the purchase from an online secure website and are still in the US. So I'd say the risk is low and easily resolved if something did happen. So if you have fees on the credit card but not the debit, I'd go ahead and use the debit. DON'T get a new credit card for a one-time purchase just to avoid some fees.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

Some credit cards come with extended warranties on items purchased and secondary physical damage insurance on car rentals. But with a debit card, you don't have the same rights on chargebacks. And some kinds of fraud can result in the draining of your checking account. Credit cards are better to use for flights and purchases of "hard' items.
I only use my debit card to make cash withdrawals when traveling. Otherwise I use the credit card for all other transactions. And Capital One doesn't rip me off on the exchange rate like most American credit card transactions.

Posted by Dawn
Denver, CO
258 posts

Thank you all for replying. I agree that when we're actually in Europe, I won't be using the debit card for anything other than withdrawing money from ATMs. It's just that when buying these train tickets online before we leave I didn't want to get hit with unnecessary fees by using my credit card if it was possible to use my Schwab debit card that doesn't have any.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1356 posts

hi, whatever you do, you may want to contact your instution and let them know what yorue doing since they will see it as a transaction out of the country and will probably notify you anyway. happy trails.

Posted by Joe
Houston, TX, US
28 posts

I also have a Discover Card. A Discover Card also has no foreign currency conversion fees nor does Capital One. You can use Discover any place you see the Diner's Club sign. Discover owns Diner's Club. Problem is Diner's Club is not as popular over there. I intend to use
my Discover Card whereever possible on my upcoming trips. For this reason I completed an application for Capital One and had my card in a matter of days. Joe

Posted by Dawn
Denver, CO
258 posts

Joe - good to know that about the Discover card, since we do have one of those. Thanks for everyone's replies!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8757 posts

Just don't plan on using the Discover card in Europe or the UK. While I have heard that it will be accepted somewhere over here I have never seen either a Discover card or Diners Club card logo.