Credit cards have made travelling abroad much easier. Some of the best known credit cards are accepted in hotels, airports, golf clubs, restaurants and shopping centers in almost every city around the world. With a credit card in your hand, you won’t have to worry about the local currency and the exchange rates. However, credit cards are not riskless. There is always the danger that they may be misplaced, stolen or locked. You will have a horrible time if you are stranded in a faraway place with no other way to pay your hotel bills.
So here are 5 credit card safety tips for travelers:
- Inform the credit card company before travelling: Credit cards have inbuilt alerts that can trigger a lock if they sense unusual activities, such as when you try to charge them from a strange location. Just imagine what would happen if your credit card gets locked and you have no cash to pay your hotel bill in a place far from home. To ensure smooth payments, you should inform the credit card company before travelling. Give them a general idea of where you will be during your vacation, so that they will know that charges made from those places are okay.
- Take only two credit cards with you: You may have half a dozen or more credit cards, debit cards and store charge cards. Imagine how you would deal with the situation if you lose all of them at once, which is possible if you have the habit of carrying them together in your wallet. While travelling, you should ideally take only two credit cards with you, one for making payments and other for backup just in case. You should also make sure to carry them separately. As for the rest of your cards, you should store them in a safe and secure location, preferably in a safey deposit box in your bank. With just two cards, it is also easier to keep track of your expenses.
- Copy the credit card number and customer service number: No matter where in the world you are, you should call customer service immediately if your credit card is stolen or you encounter some payment problems. Both the credit card number and the customer service number are on the credit card. Copy them on a piece of paper or in your cell phone. Be creative and devise your own personal encoding system, such as using your own symbols for numbers, so that your credit card will be safe if the paper or cell phone fall into wrong hands.
- Be careful when using your credit card in ATMs and retails shops: There are fraudsters and criminals everywhere. Many of them target credit card users using fake card scanners and bogus ATM machines. Therefore, be extra careful when using your card in ATMs to withdraw cash or in retail shops to make payments. Use only ATM machines that are in well lit and safe areas, such as a hotel lobby. Avoid making purchases in little retail shops. If you have to, then use cash to make payments.
- Make purchases through secure sites only: When making hotel reservations, purchasing air fare tickets and buying anything online, be sure to make payments through secure sites only. Avoid using public computers to make purchases; use your own laptop, tablet or smart phone if you have and erase the browser history as soon as you are done. When connecting through hotel or airport Wi-Fi, check with the staff to make sure that the connection is safe and secure.
Infographic by Collective POS