Going on vacation? Congrats! You’ve earned it. To maximize your enjoyment during your time away, you’ll want to make a few essential preparations. The last thing you need is the credit card company freezing your account while shop-hopping in Soho or guzzling Hefeweizen in Munich. Here’s a quick checklist of easy steps you can take to ready your accounts for a trip abroad.
1. Call the credit card company
2. Make a list of essential info
3. Get up to speed with your rewards program
4. Get a better travel card
5. Know your holds and limits
6. Pay your bills in advance
Call the credit card company
Creditors take active measures to detect theft and prevent fraud–for both your and their own sake. When they notice an aberration in spending patterns, they often freeze the suspect account to stop potential criminal activity. If your credit card hasn’t left Ohio in two years and it suddenly starts making extravagant purchases in Seoul, the issuer will likely deactivate the account until you verify your identity and location. This can result in major inconveniences abroad, especially if you don’t have easy access to a phone line. Call your credit card companies a week or so in advance to tell them your travel plans.
Make a list of essential info
When traveling, you put yourself at greater risk for losing a card due to theft, negligence or silly mistakes. When this happens, you need to act fast to close your accounts. Before you travel, make a list of your account numbers and the phone numbers for the corresponding credit card companies. Give one copy to a trusted friend or relative, and stash the other deep in your suitcase. You can put this information on a mobile device as well, but it will be compromised if you lose your phone. The ability to connect quickly with customer service will minimize the damages of theft or displacement.