It’s that time of year when most of us take vacations. Here are some tips on credit card usage.
Even before you leave for foreign destinations or even to another state, make a note of the number to call if your card is lost or stolen. Call the 800 number while at home and ask if this is a valid number to call from out of the country, often it is not. The bank or lender can give you a number to call from your destination country.
Also ask what the policy is for a replacement card when out of the country. Some companies can send you a new one within 24 to 48 hours.
While you are still on the phone with your lending institution inform them of your travel plans. This may seem odd. But if you’re going to be making charges in another country or an area of this country that’s not within your normal travel or spending pattern, the company may not approve a charge. With today’s rise in fraud, these things are watched for. If you are not at home to receive a call about this unusual activity you may find you do not have access to your own credit card. Advance notice should prevent this from occurring.
Once simple action prior to your departure is to find out how much you can spend on each card and know that it will work for the duration of your trip. A simple look at the card for the expiration date and at last month’s statement will let you know what your spending power is and how long it will last.
With the above information you can then plan on which cards to put into your wallet. Next is another simple action that could be costly if lost. Clean out your wallet of unnecessary items. You may be surprised at what you are carrying that could lead to identity theft. You should not be carrying your original Social Security Card with you.
Another safety tip is to put the account data with phone numbers onto a password-protected space on the Web. Don’t put it on a piece of paper and carry the data with your wallet. Thinking the information is safe in your luggage isn’t quite bright either as luggage does get lost.
Traveling within the country you may want to bring your ATM card if you know that you will have access to your bank’s machines. Remember there may be additional charges for another bank’s ATM usage. Plan ahead, call your bank and find out if there are branches at your destination.
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