Ways to avoid credit card problems on vacation
When you are getting away from it all, do the following to help ensure your trip is stress and worry free:
· Take only the credit cards you plan to use — Leave all other cards in a secure location at home or in your safety deposit box. The same goes for other types of cards that you don’t anticipate needing — such as your library, health club or work identification card. Doing so can help reduce the number of places you need to contact if your wallet or billfold is lost or stolen.
· Document the cards you take with you — Be sure to list the card numbers and their respective toll-free customer service numbers so you can quickly contact the issuing company if a problem occurs. Keep this information in a safe place like a hotel safe.
· Notify your card company about your travel plans— Doing so can help you avoid a suspension on your card if the company has concerns about unauthorized activity and cannot reach you by phone.
· Don’t conduct financial transactions on public computers — Some computers keep a record of where you have been online. Also, don’t leave your credit cards — or other valuable personal or financial information — unsecured in your hotel room. You never know who may come across them when you’re not there.
· Be wary of ATMs and automated gas pumps — The FBI has recently issued a warning about skimming, which occurs when a thief attaches a device to an ATM or card reader. The device (which goes undetected because it looks like part of the machine) enables thieves to collect and then use or sell information about your card from its magnetic strip.
If you are traveling to a foreign country, remember to make sure your credit cards will work. Some countries process only cards with microchip — instead of magnetic strip — technology.
James C. Hanna, CFP®, MBA, Financial Advisor, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner. Advisor is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Indiana.
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