Credit cards are part of our everyday lives, but as much as these bits of plastic can make our lives easier, they can also cause a lot of grief, particularly when we’re travelling.
To ensure your holiday is memorable for the right reasons, review the following tips before you take off:
- Check the expiry date on your card to make sure it remains valid for your entire trip.
- Tell your credit card providers that you are travelling overseas. Provide dates of departure and return and advise which countries you will be visiting, so purchases from those countries don’t set off warning systems.
- Write down your card details including the ‘lost and stolen’ helpline number. Take one hard copy with you and leave one at home in a safe place.
- Fraudsters are getting smarter so treat your credit cards like cash – protect them at all times.
- Remember you will pay interest on cash advances so think about putting your card in credit or use a debit card or prepaid card to allow you to withdraw cash without interest. (But you will probably have to pay an international transaction fee on these withdrawals.)
- When paying for items, always check what you are paying for before you authorise the payment. Cross out any blank lines before the total so that additional charges can’t be added. If a merchant makes a mistake while processing the transaction, personally tear up their copy of the incorrect receipt.
- Don’t use public internet connections to check your card or bank statements. It is so easy to infiltrate these connections, and all of your banking details can easily be accessed.
- As soon as you return home, check your account transactions carefully. Fraudsters will often make a small purchase on your card as a test. If you see unusual amounts or transactions that you don’t recognise, report them to your financial institution immediately. If you suspect foul play, call your provider’s helpline, and they will cancel the card.
- And finally, if you will be away longer than a month, set up an automatic payment plan to take care of regular credit card and other bill repayments.