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Using credit card overseas....Call your credit card company!

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May 19th, 2003, 05:48 AM
  #1
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Using credit card overseas....Call your credit card company!

I just called my credit card company (Visa) and was enquiring about the fees for using my credit and ATM cards while in Europe. After informing me of the fees (3% on credit, $3.00 for ATM use) they asked the days that I would be away and where I was going. In an attempt to block fraud they could stop use of the card if it show excessive foreign transactions. I was told the same thing by my 2 credit cards and ATM.

So I think its best that you call your credit card company before you go away so they have a record of your trip and that you may be shopping!
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May 19th, 2003, 06:00 AM
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I've been to Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico on about a dozen trips and have never called my credit card companies, and have never had a problem making purchases.

Why tell extra people, who have access to your address and other personal information, that you won't be home for an extended period of time?

You can easily find out the fees for a card on the company's website.

However, if it gives you peace of mind to do this, I guess it's just personal preference.

Have a fun trip!
Karen
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May 19th, 2003, 06:11 AM
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"Why tell extra people, who have access to your address and other personal information, that you won't be home for an extended period of time?"

Because both my bank and credit card company recomend it and if you do not, you may have significant problems during your trip.

Would you really tell them that every person in your household will be gone and the house will be unocupied?

Keith
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May 19th, 2003, 06:12 AM
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Well I just learned this by accident. The rep at my bank said ALL comapnies where doing this now. I called and all three companies said that this is fairly new and to prevent fraud. Imagine standing in a Harrods or trying to pay you hotel bill and having your card rejected. Or worse, I depend on ATM's for money and would hate to be needing a coffee and have no cash! I really doubt that someone in at the credit card company is searching record to see who is not home this week.

In any event, I shop A LOT and even here in the USA they will stop you from making purchases if they sense that there is excessive use. This is usually fixed by asking to speak to you and once they verify your identity the allow you to continue your shopping spree.

P.S. Try to go to one of those websights and pick thru all the files and data to look for the small print saying they are gonna charge you 1-3%.
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May 19th, 2003, 06:13 AM
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Thank you Keith, that's exactly what they told me.

Also, remember if you have an issue you are on the other side of the world and the person you may need to speak to may be sleeping!
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May 19th, 2003, 06:24 AM
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Hello,

I agree with Richarab's comments. When I went to London last November, I used my Visa 6-7 times, but none of the purchases were for a large amount.

I returned home to find a message from the Visa issuer that they were doing a security check due to the overseas purchases, so it's a good idea to call your card issuers just to let them know.

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May 19th, 2003, 06:26 AM
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I was in Florence in January 2001 when my credit card was declined at an Internet cafe. I couldn't understand what could possibly be wrong. I had a platinum card with a $50,000.00 limit carrying a balance of $400. When I got back to my hotel I called the credit card company and they said they were alarmed because someone had charged $500 worth of goods at a pharmacy. They concluded that a drug addict had stolen my card and was charging narcotics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, the purchase was made by me at Farmeceutica Santa Maria Novella, the famous Florentine perfume shop!!!!! Boy, was I ever pissed. Now, whenever I go away on holiday, I call the credit card company and tell them (rather snidely, by the way) to please not decline my card in a foreign country.
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May 19th, 2003, 06:41 AM
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Neither my Mastercard nor my Visa Check Card charge a fee for use in an overseas ATM. I've used them both. Of course, my Visa comes directly out of my checking account. My Mastercard does charge interest because use in an ATM machine is considered a cash advance. On my last trip to Paris, the interest was $3.00 and change.

I do call my bank and mastercard accounts and tell them that I will be traveling and making purchases overseas. I also make sure I have their toll free or collect numbers in case I should lose my card.

I rented a car in LeHavre from a company in Ireland, on line. I had to give a 10% deposit and used my mastercard. I did get a call from my mastercard company because it was a strange transaction ($5.00 & change).

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May 19th, 2003, 07:22 AM
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I have been to Europe many times in the past few years; however last November was the first time my card was declined. It was at a Mephisto store for approx $300 of shoes. I just used a different card, which was accepted. When I got home, I had a message on my answering machine that I was to call the bank for 'security reasons' on my card.
So, I think it might be a new procedure with banks---my advice now would be to call ahead, or at least be sure that you have other credit cards from different bank.
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May 19th, 2003, 07:29 AM
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I concur--always a good idea.
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May 19th, 2003, 07:37 AM
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It is a good idea to call. I always call before I leave. But it does not necessarily stop your card from being declined. Citibank is who I have. I called Citibank before departing for Brazil and Chile. I still had to call them while I was down there. It was explained to me that they still want to make sure it is you and not someone who has stolen your card. I always carry 2 credit cards just for that reason.
This has worked out well for me when I travel. Have a nice trip.
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May 19th, 2003, 07:39 AM
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Well, I am calling right now. This is VERY frustrating. First you have to figure out how to get a real live human to make the notation and then you have to fend off the sales pitch!
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May 19th, 2003, 07:44 AM
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kaudrey: You may have been lucky so far but don't advise folks to not call theri bank/credit card co.

This is a case of do what I say, not waht I do. I must admit I have never called - BUT I always tell my friends/client to cal (and I will probably start). My cousin who travel all over the world had her two credit cards blocked while in China last summer - and could not get them unblocked until she got to Hong Kong. Luckily, she had a workable ATM and some money in her checking account. This is a woman who had used the same cards in Scotland, Egypt, and Australia in the past 8 months - so it was not because of a "profile".

It has always been a good idea and it is becoming much more important to call. With the time differences, straightening things up by phone can get pretty frustrating.
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May 19th, 2003, 08:29 AM
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I was in Italy and France a few years ago and every purchase needed to call for approval.It was a nightmare, on top of that it seemed purchases over $100 were frequently declined, so I had to go find an ATM to make my purchases.
Trust me a simple call is worth it before you go, I had to call my credit card company from over seas, thank God I had the phone #.
Fluffy
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May 19th, 2003, 09:13 AM
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I have had a card declined here in the US due to unusual activity so I definitely called the CC's before traveling to Europe to let them know.

The problem here was that we used a seldom-used CC to make some purchases for home improvements. I guess spending a couple thousand dollars in a weekend at Home Depot and Lowes set off a flag. It just took a call to clear it up but since then we notify CC's before we do something "unusual".
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May 19th, 2003, 09:15 AM
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Its just the way things are today in a world of cyber-theft!
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May 19th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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If you are paying 3% on fees for currency conversion with your credit card, you have the wrong card.

Here we go again: Visa and Master Card both charge a 1% conversion fee. Your bank then may or maynot add an additional 1% or 2% for doing absolutely NOTHING!

We know banks like CitiBank, Bank of America, etc. add the extra 2%. We also know banks that don't include MBNA and Capitol One.

If you are using your Visa or Master Card for cash advances, it is going to cost you much more than a $3.00 transaction fee. That is about the worst way to get money. Your ATM is the best and cheapest.

This subject is brought up all of the time.

It is a good idea to tell your bank that you will be in a foreign country.

Curious
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May 19th, 2003, 09:36 AM
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No doubt about it--call security (Bank of America says "security, not customer service") at your credit card companies and give them your dates. They will call your home to inquire if you are making all these purchases which doesn't do much good since you aren't there. I have even had my card stopped in the US when shopping at the beach.
One other thing about credit cards is if you are unfortunate enough to lose one in Europe you CAN get it replaced overnight if you demand it. Learned from experience, unfortunately.
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May 19th, 2003, 09:39 AM
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I bank by website anyway and just alert the bank by e:mail that I will be out of the country and to expect foreign purchases. Has worked just fine.
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May 19th, 2003, 09:48 AM
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To Curious...

Correct, Capital One does not charge a conversion fee but master card will add 1%, no biggie.

My bank (Washington Mutual) charges a flat rate of $3.00 for an ATM withdrawl from my checking account.

Forget the cash advance from a credit card... In addition to the fees they will also charge you a higher percentage rate than purchases.

In any event whether the $3.00 fee is added to an ATM withdrawl or 3-5% to a credit card, its still a good rate as compared to exchanging money at one of those kiosks. Unfortunately your credit card company like to profit for doing nothing. They call it a "conversion fee". As if there is some little old lady sitting in the back room who tallys all your purchases. As if...
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