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Unblocking your credit card

Old Sep 13th, 2006, 05:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,510
Unblocking your credit card

I just got off the phone with my Visa Card bank. I mentioned to them that I was going to Europe next week, and she mentioned that I need to call them the day before leaving to get my card unblocked so I can use it overseas. Apparently this is a new security process that I wasn't aware of.
zootsi is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 05:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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That seems odd. I've always been able to call them just about any time and give the dates of my travel.
janisj is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 05:37 AM
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Not so new. The first time my card was blocked for security precautions when I was traveling was about 12 years ago. Since then I always call to let them know when I'm traveling. If you don't call you could be OK, but it is just a good way to assure you that they won't block your account when they start seeing a lot of big charges from distant places.
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
I have a BOA Visa card. I usually call them SEVERAL days ahead to alert the security department that the card will be used out of the country.

I cannot speak to the supposed (automatic) "blocking" of the card.

In my case, I am usually asked if I will be making purchases of greater than $1000 and if I will be using the card for things such as auto rentals.

My back-up Visa is from Cap One...the last time I called THEM they wanted me to 'call us once a week'(this while I was traveling) which I thought was a bit much.

One other note: if you get there and someone tells you "the transaction was refused/didn't go through" even though you HAVE notified the issuer, ask the person to make a second attempt before contacting the issuer.

In my case it "didn't go through" because the clerk had put in the wrong expiration date (I found this out later when I called the issuer more or less really PO'd asking why this had happened after three weeks of constant "foreign" use).
Dukey is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 05:46 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Zootsi--I don't think this is anything new; it's the Visa version of the usual routine of notifying your CC issuers that you'll be using the card out of the country, so as not to have a fraud-alert put on your card. Like you, I have been told in the past by my Visa issuer that I may not notify them until 24 hours before commencing travel. For my other CCs (MC & AMEX), there doesn't seem to be a specific timeframe that the notification must be made, as long as I give them the precise dates of travel. So, while it's not a new security process, it is a bit of a pain to make sure to make the Visa-related call the day before departure. I'm sure others will chime in with their experiences. Have a great trip !
lifes2short is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 05:51 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I now call twice before I leave. The reason? Two years ago I had called the ones that I was taking and the time frame. I arrived early morning in Nice and gave Auto Europe my credit card, and it was blocked. I gave them another card. I later called and for whatever reason the notation did NOT get recorded on the account!!

I am leaving on 9/18. I called the ones that I was taking with me last week and I called each of them again yesterday to confirm that the accounts had been noted. They all had been. It takes time, but may be a good idea to do it.

Please note that some seem to be having "chip" problems and there have always been problems that a card might not work in a particular machine..that is just the way it is. So, be sure you take several different cards..i.e. M/C, Visa, Amex etc.....

Have a good trip.
gracejoan is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 06:11 AM
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When I said it was odd it was about zootsi being instructed to call the day before traveling.

I do call - but never leave it until the day before I leave.
janisj is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Maybe it depends on your travel pattern, but I have never called a credit card company to tell them where I was going - and never had credit card (AMEX, MC or Visa) blocked for anything anywhere.

But perhaps it is because I travel all the time on business - though mostly in the US, but now to europe 4/5 times per year.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 07:28 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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There is very defintely a "pattern" which the security department watches closely. Sometimes, when you veer from that pattern even at home it can prompt a call from the issuer to verify the purchase.
Dukey is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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I've never called Visa before going away, and I've never been blocked.
I lived in Asia for a year and traveled throughout S.E Asia and used it all over. Not blocked once. Used it in Costa Rica in April, and fine there too.

Maybe this should worry me.

I will call this time around before heading to Italy, just in case. As it does seem that many people have had issues.

Again thanks to the fodorites...learn something new everytime I log on.
Travelbug13 is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 07:37 AM
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I have found that it really doesn't make a difference whether you call or not...if the computer detects some kind of a pattern developing that is not in line with what it considers your norm, they will block the card call or not...and at the same token what if you tell them you're going to be in France and your number is stolen in France...often times they will let the fraudulent charges go through for a while until either your credit limit is exhausted or something clicks in the computer....

I was in London this past August and as is my want when on holiday I charge everything everywhere everyplace for amounts no matter how small and the grocery chains in London are very enlightened and do not have that idiotic rule of a minimum for using a charge card.

So I would go into the grocery in the morning, pick up a cuple of diet coks in 0.5l bottles for 2 for £1.30...have a quick lunch at pret a manger for £4 or something like that...before the theatre pick up a couple of diet cokes (it's a hell of a lot better to pay 2 for £1.30 than £2.50 they charge you at half time in a theatre)...and before retiring at night pick up some stuff for the evening...all being done on mastercard so I could easily use the mastercard 6 or 7 times a day...despite the fact I had called the bank to tell them I was in the UK, at one of the places, this card was suddenly blocked. Luckily I had another card...called the bank (Citibank) and they told me my charges, despte the fact they were small, were outside my pattern...they immediately unblocked the card when I answered a cuple of questions and had no further the 5 days in London I must have used the card 40 times...
xyz123 is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Yes, it definitely is your pattern of use. When it changes it is noticed. Glad they are watching!!

Re stolen in the country that you had advised them that you were going to...I imagine that you would call advising them that it had been stolen to take care of that.

I think I would rather take the time to advise them of this change in norm for me than to have a problem! My trips are for pleasure..don't need any problems....

I am always so glad to see my luggage arrive at my destination!! I can then relax.........
gracejoan is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Be sure to bring the phone number of your credit provider and know how to dial it from Europe. I called in advance to notify Chase that I'd be in Paris with my specific dates. Your account has been noted I was told, so when I used my cards they were blocked. I used my Visa no problem, and no advance call to Visa.

I later called Chase and they said yes I see that on March xx you called securtiy. So why was it blocked. As mentioned earlier, I was told it doesn't necessarily matter that you informed them. If security sees something suspicious it blocks the card.
BettyBoop is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 09:13 AM
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A couple weeks ago I used a different card at the grocery store than I usually do - was on autopilot and pulled the wrong one out of my wallet without realizing it. The next day I got a call from the CC company confirming the charge - since I had never bought groceries with that card, the change in pattern showed up on an exception report somewhere. I appreciated the call.
J_Correa is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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I never used to call but have for the last couple of years. (always recommended calling during my travel talks but never bothered myself)

I never had a problem but then a cousin who travels all over the world all the time - always leisure trips - had a huge problem. In the space of 18 mos this woman had traveled to Scotland 3 times, England once, Turkey, Israel, Alaska, Egypt and a couple of other trips I don't remember. But then she went to China and had her cc blocked. And could not get it un-blocked by the branch in Beijing or by phone to the States. She had to borrow money from others until they got to Hong Kong and got it worked out.

When she got home she was furious and called visa. "Why was it blocked?" "Because of unusual activiity" "Huh - I travel more than I am at home. What unusual activity?" "You had never used the card in China before"

So you can bet I call now - every time . . . .
janisj is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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Speaking from very recent experience, I would DEFINITELY do this, double, even triple check it is done. Because of heightened identity theft and security issues, Visa companies are being very, very stringent on charges they question. I just returned from Europe 4 days ago and had advised my bank prior to leaving to notate my file/account that I would be in Italy using my Visa card. Well, despite that, I arrived and was unable to purchase my train tickets in Napoli because the transaction was showing as "negative/blocked" - despite there being ample funds on the card. The frustrating thing is that I was 9 hours ahead of the U.S. and I had to wait 6 more hours for my bank to open to resolve it. I missed 2 trains as a consequence and it was an annoying hassle (we sat in the train waiting room for hours!). I ended up calling a local Visa bank and got a "numero verde" (green number) that is a 800 number for Visa that you can call while overseas from any pay phone in Italy as a free call. It goes to a call center in London and they can actually transfer you directly to your own bank in the States. I had to use that number several times because despite the block being "removed" the first day and enabling me to buy my train tickets, the block was back on again by the next time I tried to make another Visa purchase. Apparently, there is a 2 step process that Visa goes through to verify purchases/identity and fraudulent activity and my card was still flagged! Very frustrating! When I go back to Italy, I am going to make sure everyone knows I am there as I do NOT want to go through that hassle again!
Huitres is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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Would you like to share the " numero verde" you were given. It is a bit of a hassle trying to call collect to the CC numbers
jody is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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The fact that multiple posters in this thread have said they have their cards blocked in Europe after they've called their card company suggest it's really useless to do so.

The advise of how to call the company after your card has been blocked, however, is very valid. All my CCs have a number on its back to call collect from overseas.

Anyways, I never call before overseas trip, and have never had a card blocked there. However, I do have multiple cards blocked here in the US when I do high-speed road trips where I fuel up 3-4 times a day. [Now I rotate my cards when buying fuel and it's been okay.]
rkkwan is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 341
2 years ago, I called to inform Cpaital One I waould be in Italy for 3 weeks. Half way through my card was blocked. Aftre spedning a whole day trying to call them I finally got thru and was told that the customer service person apparently neglected to send my request to the security dept.

I eventually was reimbursed by them for telephone calls and fees I had to incur to get mony for the weekend.

I will defintely call the day before to confirm that they have my notice on file.

David J
davidjac is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2006, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,216
I have not even left home yet and had my credit card blocked. I put a deposit on a house rental in Ireland. Red flag! There was a message from the credit card company to call them which I did. But the person I spoke with failed to make note of my trip. Next time I used my card it was rejected. I had to call yet again to straighten it out. I ALWAYS call before a trip even though I travel internationally frequently.
IrishEyes is offline  

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