Tips to Keep Your Credit Card Safe During Vacation
These days, more and more people are choosing to use credit cards rather than cash or debit cards when taking a vacation, and for good reasons. For one, credit cards are much easier to handle and less prone to theft than cash. In addition, if in case someone steals your credit card while you’re on a trip and uses it to buy gas, groceries or other merchandise, federal law dictates that credit card companies can only demand $50 from you, regardless of the amount spent using your card. (This is provided, of course, that you were able to notify them within 60 days of the theft.) Moreover, if the loss involves your credit card number, you can’t be held liable at all for any of those purchases.
Despite all these conveniences, however, a lost credit card during a trip is still very troublesome. For one, the event takes away one of your financial safety nets. Second, if you’re the type who whips out your card with impulse purchases, losing it means you limit your access to a number of great restaurants, stores, spas and other establishments that would have otherwise made your travel experience extra special.
Here are some tips to keep your credit card safe during a vacation:
1. Travel with two useful cards While most people would say that it’s best to travel with only one card, it’s always better to have another one stashed in your hotel rooms safe in case one gets lost or stolen. The rest should be kept hidden somewhere safe, like in some corner inside your closet or a non-conspicuous space in the room. Make sure to bring a reliable and secure credit card at all times. There’s no point bringing that local supermarket or gas station credit card if you’re traveling to, say, Thailand or Vietnam. Make sure you have at least a Visa and a MasterCard, if you can, as these are used and recognized by establishments worldwide
2. Notify banks that you will be travelling with your cards Most credit card companies have alerts that enable a credit card lock when they detect strange activities. Telling them that you’re on your way to California for spring break will let them know that the insane gas and booze purchase was really made by you.
3. Know your limits and expiration dates This helps you avoid being embarrassed in front of everyone in that five-star restaurant when the waiter comes back with your card saying that it has gone over its limit.
4. Take note of the contact information of the cards’ issuers Although the banks’ contact numbers are usually printed on the back of the credit card, they really won’t do you any good once the card’s stolen. Also, most of these numbers are actually not valid abroad. Take time to look up international hot lines and credit card information before you go in a trip. Write these down in a travel journal or notebook that you’ll take along with you on your trip.
5. Transact only on secure sites and clear browsing historyAvoid credit card fraud by completing transactions like bookings and other forms of purchases only on reliable sites. If using a communal computer, be sure to clear your browsing history before you leave.
6. Keep your credit card safe from family and friendsThis might spark some controversy among your inner circle, but believe us, it’s pretty logical. You wouldn’t want your 17-year old cousin running around town with your credit card. Who knows what he’ll do with it? Moreover, who knows what it can do to him, especially in a country where robbery is rampant? It’s not just for your sake, but for your loved ones as well.