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Traveling Outside The Country? Before You Leave, Notify Your Credit Card Issuer So Your Purchases Aren't Denied

With the increase in identity theft and fraud during the past few years, many banks have increased their security efforts to fight identify fraud. This includes proactively flagging or automatically denying credit card purchases in another country. This increased security has both good and bad news.

The good news: consumers are better protected against fraud. The bad news: valid purchases by cardholders traveling outside the the country may be denied. The last thing anyone wants to experience is a denied credit card purchase when you are in a different country and low on cash in the local currency.

To avoid this, I notified my credit card issuers before my recent vacation travel. Credit card issuers will want to know your card number, travel destinations, travel start/stop dates, and cardholders traveling.

The letter I used, which you are welcome to adapt for your upcoming trip:

"This regards the [insert Visa/Discover/MasterCard/Amex/etc.] account ending XXXX. I am the cardholder for the above account. This letter is to inform you that I will be traveling on vacation from November 22, 2011 to December 9, 2011, and visiting the following locations: Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, and Colombia (Cartagena). Hence, you will see purchases on my [insert Visa/Discover/MasterCard/Amex/etc.] card at these locations, and from the XXXXXXXXX cruise line."

With some credit card issuers, you can report upcoming travel via a toll-free phone number. I prefer a written letter which documents the communication. The address to use is on your monthly statement. Check the website for your bank or credit card issuer about how to report upcoming travel.


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