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Do I need to notify a credit card company when traveling?

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    If you have planned travel coming up, alerting your credit card issuers about your vacation plans can help to ensure that your charges aren't declined when you arrive. Here's how you can prepare yourself and your credit card for your next trip.

    What is a credit card travel notice?

    A travel notice is an alert to your credit card issuer that you'll be going on a trip to a different location. By giving this notice in advance, you're letting your credit card company know that you may be making charges from a different state or country.

    Why should you notify your credit card company of travel?

    Credit card companies check cardholders' accounts for any unusual or suspicious activity when a transaction occurs. If your company sees a charge from a location away from home, your issuer may think this is suspicious activity and decline the charge. If you're visiting a country or location where fraudulent charges occur more often, the chances of your credit card getting declined are higher when you don't alert your credit card issuer about your travel.

    Do you need to notify your credit card company?

    You're not required to notify your credit card company when you're going away on vacation, but it is highly recommended. By letting your credit card company know where you're going and for how long, your company will know that any card transactions from that location were likely authorized by you. Check with your credit card issuer to see if they have travel notification capabilities.

    Traveling outside your city

    If you're traveling to an area not far from home, it's unlikely that any credit card charges will be declined, so setting a travel notification may not be a necessity.

    Traveling outside your state

    As you travel further from home, the chance of charges being declined is higher. If you're visiting another state, you can notify your credit card company that you're going away to avoid any hassles as you travel.

    Traveling outside your country

    You should definitely consider filing a travel notice for every trip outside your country. If you don't file a travel alert with your card issuer, your credit card may get declined and you might need to contact your credit card company to approve your transactions. If you're in a different country you may have trouble with making an international call, an inconvenience that can prevent you from authorizing your charge and enjoying your trip.

    Which credit cards require a travel notice?

    Not all credit card companies recommend that you set a travel notice before you go away, including those with EMV chips that may provide added security when you travel. If your credit card doesn't have an EMV chip, you should contact your bank before you leave to make sure your trip goes smoothly.

    Multiple credit cards

    If you own multiple credit cards, you should set travel notifications for each of the cards you plan to use on vacation. Even if you plan to use one of the cards only in case of emergency, set a travel alert for it just in case.

    Risks of not filing a credit card travel notice

    If you don't give your credit card issuer a travel notice, the company won't know that you'll be making purchases in a new location. If the company starts to see charges on your credit card from a different state or country, it may flag these transactions as fraud. The credit card issuer may then put your account on hold and prevent you from making any purchases until you can authorize the charges.

    Once a credit card is declined, the cardholder has to call the issuer or provide an app verification in order to prove that the purchase made was authorized. You may have difficulties contacting your bank for various reasons, such as if your vacation spot has bad cell service or if you didn't set up international calling for your phone plan. Notifying your credit card company before you leave on vacation will help you avoid this hassle.

    How to notify your credit card company of travel

    You can notify your credit card issuer about your vacation over the phone, online, through a mobile app or in person. You can also contact your credit card issuer to get a better understanding of how to set a travel notice.

    Setting your travel notice online or through a mobile app

    Setting your travel notification online or through an app can be easier than speaking with customer service, depending on your preferences. Log into your account on your credit card company's website or app and search for “travel notice" options. If you're unable to find where to set your travel notice, get in contact with your credit card issuer.

    Setting your travel notice over the phone or in-person

    To set a travel alert for your credit card over the phone, call the number on the back of your card to get in touch with your bank. The customer service line will either let you speak to a representative on the phone or work with an automated system. If you have any questions or concerns about your travel notice, calling your credit card company is a good method to set the notification.

    If you want to set your travel notice in person, go to your nearest branch to meet with a representative. Meeting face-to-face gives you the chance to ask any questions you might have.

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