Before You Travel, Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report
If you haven't obtained a recent copy of your credit report, that is the first step. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for a free report from all three bureaus.
If you see errors on your report, dispute these with each bureau. Instructions on how to do so are at each site.
Notify Your Financial Institution Before Traveling
With the summer months upon us, if you are traveling, you probably do not want to be stuck without access to your debit and/or credit cards--how else are you going to pay for all of those wonderful souvenirs?
Don't get your card frozen.
Making purchases outside of your normal pattern can trigger suspicious activity on your account often resulting in your account being frozen until you can be reached by phone. Or in a worst case, if your card is compromised by fraudsters, you will be left without use of your card.
To minimize any disruption, it is always a good idea to notify your financial institution of your travel plans and provide the best contact number to reach you at while you are traveling--especially if you are leaving the country. By doing this you are hopefully minimizing the chances of your card being frozen when you are trying to make a legitimate purchase.
Helpful Tips for Traveling with Your Card
1.Make sure you have emergency phone numbers for your financial institution. If traveling outside the U.S., toll-free 800 phone numbers will not work. Make sure you have a contact phone number for your financial institution that is accessible from outside the U.S.
2.Immediately notify your financial institution if your card is lost or stolen.
3.Monitor transactions on your account using Online Banking.
4.Always take at least one back-up source of funds with you, and be sure you have contact phone numbers for your credit card provider.
5.In Europe, many ATMs do not offer the option of withdrawing or transferring funds from a savings account. Make sure your checking account has sufficient funds to meet your cash needs.
6.Look at the logos on the back of your card. These logos indicate the networks where your card will work. If your card is refused, it may be because the machine is not on a compatible network.