The Seacoast BankNote

How to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud While Traveling

Reviewed by: Meghan Wandrie

Whether you're an experienced traveler or occasional vacationer, chances are you'll need to use your credit card when traveling.

It is crucial for you to help protect yourself from credit card fraud, whether traveling for business or pleasure. These simple tips will help you keep your information secure, no matter where you are.

Let Your Card Issuer Know Where You Will Be

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When it comes to both your bank account and credit card, you'll want to set a travel alert to let the issuer know where you will be and for how long. This will stop them from flagging your account for suspicious activity -- like repeated purchases outside of your home state or country.

Keep It Minimal

You may have a selection of credit cards, but don't travel with them all. The more you have and the more accounts you use, the greater the chance that a fraudulent charge will escape your notice. It's best to pick one card to use for the majority of your purchases, as well as a backup if you have it.

Know Who To Contact

Your credit card issuer will have multiple layers of protection in place in the case that your cards are stolen, but you'll need to know how to contact them and have the correct account information to verify who you are. Write down or make copies of the front and back of your cards, which will typically also include necessary contact information. Store this information in a safe place that is separate from the cards themselves.

Monitor Your Account (If Possible)

If you can keep an eye on your account activity when traveling, that is a great way to catch any suspicious activity quickly. However, you have to be safe, and accessing your financial data over public wireless or through public computers is not recommended. These methods can be prone to prying eyes and hackers, so you are better off waiting until you have access to a secure network.

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Set Alerts And Budgets

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Most card issuers will allow you to set up alerts -- via email or text -- that let you know when you've reached a certain budget threshold on your spending. This is helpful both in the case that someone is able to access your card information and attempt a big purchase, but also to help you stick with a travel budget. Alerts can be especially helpful if you are traveling abroad or somewhere where you can't safely monitor your account information.

Know How Payment Works

In the United States, credit card payments were traditionally swiped through a reader near a register, which meant that a server at a restaurant would take your card away from the table. In Europe, credit cards have chips that allow for servers to bring card readers directly to you at the table, meaning your credit card never has to be out of your sight. The US is finally catching up to this practice, although nowhere near the scale of Europe. In fact, you'll want to confirm that you will even be able to use your card if traveling abroad, especially if your card is older, as many businesses will only accept cards with chips.

Traveling safely is best achieved by actively preparing, so make sure your bank and credit card issuers have you covered in the case of emergency. Contact us today to learn about our personal banking solutions.


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