Credit Card Security Guide
Carrying a credit card when you travel overseas on holiday is great for convenience and accessibility, but it can be dangerous to your financial well-being if you are not careful.
Follow this guide to maintaining security with your credit card when you are in a foreign land to ensure that your holiday goes as smoothly as possible.
Before You Go
Credit card safety begins before you leave on your holiday trip. There a number of steps you should take before you leave the country to ensure your credit card’s safety. The first step will be to make sure your credit card has the proper amount of overseas accessibility.
There is no use in getting to your destination only to discover that your card doesn’t work. You will want to make sure that your card is has Internet banking capabilities. You also want to be sure that your card has the ability to use a PIN number.
Many places overseas will require that you use a PIN to make transactions with the card. You should also check the expiration dates on your credit card before you leave. If the card expires while you are away it could spell trouble.
Bring any credit cards that contain internal chips because these have more safety features than other cards. It may also be wise to bring a debit card with you so you will be able to access your cash without paying fees. You will also want to copy down all of your card’s information to carry with you in a safe place before you go.
This should include the credit card’s emergency numbers, so you will know who to call if you lose your card. While you are at it you should make copies of your passports and trip information.
Lastly, you will want to give your credit card company a call to let them know you will be travelling overseas. This will prevent them from mistakenly halting access to your card as a form of security protection.
While You Are On Holiday
To avoid thefts of either your physical credit card or the information it contains you should observe a number of safety procedures while you are enjoying your holiday.
First, only carry one credit card with you when you are out and about. Leave a second emergency card hidden in a safe place. A money belt or other hiding place is where you should carry your credit card to prevent losing it to pick-pockets. Only use your card at reputable merchants.
If you have doubts then use cash. It is never a good idea to flash a lot of cash or your credit card around. It will make you a target for thieves. You will want to carry some local currency and travellers cheques as well for safety. Always keep a close eye on your credit card.
Never let it out of your sight. If you have to give it to a merchant, watch them closely to make sure they don’t swipe your card more than once. If they do they could be stealing the information from the card.
If the merchant attempts to walk away with your card try to follow them to watch what they are doing. Again, if you are in doubt then use cash.
Avoid using your credit card to make cash withdraws. Not only will you be paying a currency exchange rate but you will also be paying a cash advance rate and these extra charges can really add up. Keep all credit card receipts until you get home.
These will help determine any fraudulent charges. If you lose your credit card or suspect that someone has stolen the information on it you should call your credit card company right away and report it. This will prevent any fraudulent charges from having to be paid by you and the company will issue you a replacement card. They will also immediately block your card to prevent more theft.
When You Get Home
Credit card safety doesn’t end when your holiday does. When you return from your trip you should give your credit card issuer a call to let them know that you are no longer overseas.
The company can then close your card off to any overseas use and this will help you determine if any fraudulent cares are being made even after you get home. To ensure that nothing has gone wrong with your credit card while you were away you should continue to monitor your card. Since you have kept all of the receipts from your trip you should be able to compare these to your credit card statements.
Keep a close eye on your credit card statements even after your trip is finished. Sometimes fraudulent charges don’t show up for a few months. This is because thieves don’t necessarily need your card to make fraudulent charges, they just need the card’s information. In order to determine whether or not the card has been reported as stolen, many thieves will make only a few small charges at first.
If you don’t keep a close eye on your statements you could miss these small and seemingly insignificant charges.
Report any inconsistencies with your credit card statements as soon as you find them. The earlier a credit card company knows about problems the sooner they can fix them and the less chance there will be that you will have to pay for any fraudulent charges.
Keep records of all of the information shared between you and the credit card company. This could mean emails and statements. You may have to prove that you didn’t make the listed charges.
Using a credit card when you are on holiday makes sense because it offers you accessibility to use overseas merchants and the convenience of carrying less cash around, but to ensure that you do not become a victim of credit card fraud you must remain vigilant. Use common sense when carrying a credit card overseas. Using cash instead of your card will make this process a lot easier.