BBB tips: Your credit card while on vacation

It’s time for summer vacation! But before you go anywhere, make sure you inform your credit card company of your travel plans. If an account is being used in an unfamiliar spending pattern, including being used in a different state or country and charges that are not the normal spending amount, many companies will lock the account in an effort to reduce credit card fraud. One phone call to the credit card company can remedy the situation but it may take some time before purchases are permitted. A vacation is for relaxation, not stressing about your bank account being locked up. Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to avoid the surprise and stress from a credit card fraud alert and rejection.

• Carry cash with you, just in case. If your credit card is not usable, you can use your ATM card and cash for purchases and emergencies.

• Make sure you have available credit to avoid going over your limit. Also, check the expiration date on your card. You wouldn’t want it to expire while you are out of town.

• Verify that you have the correct customer service number. If you are leaving the country, the customer service number on the back of the card will likely not work so you should find the local contact number.

• Make a note of your credit card information and be sure to keep it in a safe place. If the card is lost or stolen, you will want to have the number and expiration date on hand so you can close the account.

• Keep an eye on your statements and watch for any billing irregularities. Keep track of all receipts so you can identify any billing mistakes. Don’t let a simple mistake ruin your vacation. Let your credit card company know about your travel plans ahead of time.

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