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Do you call your ATM/CC company before your trip?

Do you call your ATM/CC company before your trip?

Feb 28th, 2008, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,429
I always call my CC company. My first trip years ago they blocked it and I had a problem because it was the middle of the night where the card co. was and they couldn't help me at that time. So I had to pay cash for my purchases. Now I call every time. My bank said I don't have to call about my ATM card so I haven't and it has been ok so far.
MarthaT is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 148
Yes, I call on 2 ATMs and 2 CC.

Having been a victim of ID theft involving CCs in the US, I'm close to a first-name friendship with the CC companies. They were the ones who alerted us to the questionable card use and extremely helpful in ending it. One bank/ATM issuer on the other hand wasn't so nice to work with and we have since closed that account based on this situation.

Now in addition to letting the card issuers know of our out-of-country dates and places, we also provide a cell number where we can be reached. One time we were contacted re a purchase outside our normal range. They apologized for the interruption but wanted to confirm. We thanked them for the contact and the security they were providing. I recognize that our accounts may be more closely monitored than many because of the prior incident but I feel it is worthwhile to make the phone call.
lukehead is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:30 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 8,862
These days I try to call my bank because I use the associated debit card. I don't bother calling the others because I usually don't use them.

I seem to recall that I've had problems in the past when I don't call. So to be on the safe side, I call these days.

Usually I find that they are not that smart if you only make a few charges. So I don't bother calling for my backups, since I don't expect to use them that much.

Also I find that they've never called me if I make purchases before the trip -- for example, plane or train tickets or museum or concert tickets charged in Euros. Theoretically these should be flagged as suspicious, but they are not.

My impression that is that the fraud detection algorithms obviously can't detect everything. It's not that any use of a card overseas will lead them to flag something. These are algorithms designed to flag a specific pattern of activity, but I'm not sure how that works.

I know that many years ago, one card I was using was flagged because I used it on a payphone for long-distance calls. I made quite a few in succession.

Interestingly one of ccs has also missed two fradulent charges on my account. This tells me that the fraud detection algorithms have probably gotten smarter (because they obviously don't want to call you or stop you from using your card if the activity is not fraudulent), but the fraud perpetrators have gotten smarter as well. There were two charges that totaled under $200. If I hadn't reviewed my bill carefully most likely I'd not noticed them myself.
111op is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:30 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,755
..almost never but they have my cell. I am out of the country at least once a month and probably 2 locations each trip. They never call me as I think they know it is a pattern. In fact one of my collegues was called because she returned to the same place with in a week where her pattern is really to be scattered throughout the globe. I was called once when I charged some electrical/music equiptment which is not my pattern.
travelbunny is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,357
It is all based on you doing something "different" from your normal pattern. Those who travel regularly, are not doing something "different".

Those of us who may take two or three trips a year to Europe need to call to advise them, or you may find that you will be blocked.

I like to avoid as many problems as possible. Dealing with the airlines is enough of a problem!!
gracejoan3 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,938
The other thing to do when you call is confirm the collect number on the back of your cards to call them from out of the country. If you've had your card for more than a year, it's likely that the number has changed (it has on both of mine which are due to expire in 2009 and 2010).
amyb is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,585
I never used to but have for the last few years. My cousin's experience convinced me. She is retired and travels all over the world on leisure trips - maybe 4 or 5 trips a year.

She was in China and neither her credit card nor ATM card would work. It took three days and lots of hassle before it was straightened out. She had to borrow money from fellow travelers to tide her over. Both cards had been blocked for "suspicious activity". She blew a gasket - after all she had used them in Egypt, northern Scotland and London w/i a 6 month period w/o any problems. The bank said - "well we've not seen any use in China/Asia before" Huh?? China is more "suspicious" than Egypt??

So yes - I do call.
janisj is online now  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:47 AM
Posts: n/a
We always call to let them know we will be using our cards in Europe. Last Sept. I forgot to tell the bank we would be using my wife's bank card too (same account different numbers) and when she tried to use it in Paris, it didn't work! I called them the next day and they took the "block" off of it.
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,070
Always. It is better than having the cards frozen, which happended to me on one trip. The card company noticed charges from Europe and stopped the card. I had to call and get it removed. Easier to just call them first.
Reisender is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,445
Well, I wasn't happy about it at the time, but my incident did prove that the call works. When suddenly my ATM card stopped working I called BofA, to be told that my account showed "unusual activity". When I said I was in Europe, they said I should have called them. When I insisted I did, and had provided them with my full itinerary, they looked and saw that yes I did, but that "override" had expired the day before -- 30 days after starting. They informed me that the over ride was only good for 30 days, but why they never told me that when I gave them our two month plus itinerary, I have no idea. This had not happened in the past, when we've traveled as much as 5 months after calling them just once. I still suspect someone entered a date wrong.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,522
Always..It takes very little time and effort and you don't want to be stuck because of "unusual activity" on the cc/debit/atm cards.. My only problem was once the bank approval in Canada was declined but later I found out it was due to time change???? The ATM worked the next try on the next day..Banks, like mothers, like to know the whereabouts of their offspring so things don't get messed up..Where would we be without plastic??? I always have 2 cc and 2 bank cards with me when I travel.
amer_can is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,129
Yes, I always call my credit card/atm companies. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's very frustrating; however, I think it is important to call my banks so they know what to expect on my charges.


monicapileggi is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 08:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,096
Well folks, maybe you have convinced me to call the next time I travel. Maybe I've been just very lucky (or unlucky in a way as my CC company doesn't suspect my "unusual activities"?)

I was actually quite surprised that before I left, I made 6 consecutive purchases on renfe.com for train tickets with my CC. I would think that should trigger some alarm but that did not.

I also used another CC to purchase concert tickets, museum tickets before my trip and that all went through.

It does make me a bit nervous sometimes when i travel alone (with no one to bail me out if my cards get blocked), but I guess I have been just too lazy to be bothered to call.

Just FYI, I always bring 2 CCs, 2 ATM cards with me, plus a couple hundred of US$ just in case.
yk is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,821
I ALways do. My Bank of America person also said to always talk to someone in "security", not just "customer service". I've had mine stopped at a trip to the beach!
Gretchen is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 08:17 AM
Posts: n/a
My Chase Mileage Plus Visa is a very good card, with good customer service. They are especially cautious about fraud, so I always have called them when I leave the country. (Although I don't plan on using that card, because of its conversion fees.)

Anyway, that card was denied at Bed, Bath and Beyond in Los Angeles once, when we'd gone there to outfit my son's freshman dorm room. We don't live in L.A., so they were suspicious.

I called the company and cleared it up, but my card would have been frozen.
Feb 28th, 2008, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 8,862
You can call your credit card company collect -- though as someone else mentioned, the number may fail to work (I've never considered or faced this possibility).

Actually I'm not too worried that my cards don't work overseass since most likely I can get something to work with some (free) phone calls, though it will be a bit of a hassle. I'm more concerned if I lose them, as has happened in the past. Then I don't even know which numbers to call.
111op is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,357
Some of them have fraud departments..like Capital one. It is necessary for that deptartment to have the information.
gracejoan3 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,445
Regarding contacting them from Europe, I once called Citibank collect from London. It was about 10 AM New Year's Day there, so I realized it was about 5 AM back in the states -- on a holiday. The issue was a stop on a credit card when I tried to buy opera tickets that morning. Yes, they accepted my call, and yes, they straightened it out. The problem? Just before leaving I had run a huge business expense (over $20,000) through the card and immediately sent a check to pay for it. The charge hadn't gone through yet, but they had received my check. So they wouldn't let me charge the opera tickets, because I had a $20,000 plus CREDIT in my account. They called it "an unauthorized payment". How funny is that?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 425
I always call my bank and my credit cards. I've never been on the phone for more than a few minutes with them, so it has never been a hassle. I'd rather be safe and at least have it indicated in my file.

The last time I was going on a trip, I called my bank and the guy says "Lucky you! I see you were just in China earlier this year, too!", so I know they at least make a note of my call...
sherhatfield is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 09:04 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 337
My CC compnay cut off my credit card because it was considered a fraudulent use. I spent hours on the phone with them from Europe trying to convice them I was their using it. They said that they had sent notice of this cut-off to my home and I did not respond. Of course not, I was already in Europe.

But, prior to leaving I had actually called the compnay and given my itinerary but as they told me later their representative neglected to place the info on the computer so their "fraud" dept cut me off. Ultimately my use was retoored and they reimbursed me $150 for telphone charges and other costs etc.

I now always call and then 2 weeks later confirm.
davidjac is offline  

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