TTT: Call your bank and credit card company

January 29, 2008 at 9:41 am Leave a comment

Image from OilEmpire. 

This Travel Tip Tuesday, please keep in mind this PSA when travelling in a foreign country.  If you’re leaving the country, call your bank and credit card company.  Tell them where you’re going and when you’ll be gone.  This will prevent them from cutting you off from making withdrawals and charges wherever you’re going – very important if you’re like me and don’t use traveler’s checks (btw, I wouldn’t recommend getting those – they’re becoming more and more difficult to use).  I know of at least two people who’ve run into trouble for failing to do this.

When we went to Rome in 2004, I made sure to call my bank and credit card company to let them know where I was going, the dates, and that I would be making ATM withdrawals and foreign charges.  I reminded my husband to do the same a couple of times, but it slipped his mind.  When we arrived, he used his ATM card to get some Euros.  A few days later, he tried to get some more cash but couldn’t; the ATM said there was a problem with his account.  This happened at a couple more ATMs.  Fortunately I had no problems, so I just withdrew cash from my account (yes, it was his card and not the ATMs; another thing to remember is that you need to find the right kind of ATM for your card).  Good thing he wasn’t by himself!

On our last cruise, my friend didn’t know to make these calls.  Sure enough, when she tried to make a second charge to her credit card in a foreign country, the charge was declined.  She knew she hadn’t maxed the card, so it was that the company was trying to protect her from unauthorized charges.  Luckily she had a back-up credit card, which was good for at least one charge, and I was able to loan her some cash.

Don’t be like my husband and friend – make those calls before you leave!  Check your daily limits as well – you may need to ask that those be temporarily suspended or increased.  Also, take multiple options for making purchases/obtaining cash (I like to take my ATM card, 2-3 credit cards, and a little cash) and take the applicable phone numbers with you just in case you still run into a problem.

Bonus tip: If planning to withdraw cash using your ATM card while in another country, make sure you have plenty of cash in your checking account.  Some foreign ATMs may not allow you to access your other accounts.

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Entry filed under: Travel Tips.

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