If you're taking a vacation soon, you probably have a checklist
of all the things you need to do before you go. Pack the bags:
check. Stop the mail: check. Take steps to avoid a credit-card
Credit problems can pop up during a vacation if you don't take
the proper precautions beforehand. Ben Woolsey of
offers these tips on how to avoid problems while traveling:
Tell your card company about your travel plans.
Your card company might suspect suspicious activity if charges made
in another city other than your hometown show up on your account.
This is especially true if the charges are made overseas. Woolsey
says that your card could be shut down or flagged for fraud and
rendered unusable if you don't call your card company before you
travel. Be warned, though, notifying your card company of your
travel plans doesn't always eliminate problems -- as my sister
discovered when she traveled overseas a couple of years ago. So
consider taking a back-up card from another issuer in case you
can't use your primary card. You might also run into problems if
you use your card in countries where merchants process only
cards with microchip technology
-- not magnetic strips.
offers a Chip & PIN Cash Passport prepaid currency card that
can help you avoid this problem.
Avoid hefty international transaction fees.
Find out whether your card company charges foreign transaction
fees, such as a currency-conversion fee, before you head overseas.
Capital One cards do not charge these fees, nor do select cards
from American Express, Chase and Citi. For more information, see
Cut the Fees Overseas
Guard against identity theft.
Write down your account numbers and contact information for your
card issuer before you travel and put it someplace safe (a discrete
pocket in your luggage). If your card (or personal information) is
stolen, you will be prepared. To lessen the chances of this even
happening, don't use hotel or public computers to conduct financial
transactions. Don't use generic ATMs. Don't leave your credit cards
in your hotel room. For more tips, see
10 Ways to Guard Against Identity Theft When
Use your card's travel perks.
If your laptop is stolen from your hotel room, MasterCard will
reimburse you if you used a gold or platinum card to pay for the
room. Likewise, if your luggage doesn't arrive when you do,
MasterCard will reimburse you for the cost of replacing essential
items. Chase customers can call Global Lifeline (the number is on
the back of their card) and get help with hotel and airline
reservations and medical assistance. Bank of America and Merrill
Lynch cardholders receive free admission to 150 museums in 85
cities on the first weekend of the month. Learn more about
what your credit card can do for you
while you're traveling.
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