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How do you manage paying your credit card bills while you are traveling on lengthy trips?

How do you manage paying your credit card bills while you are traveling on lengthy trips?

Oct 12th, 2004, 10:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 978
How do you manage paying your credit card bills while you are traveling on lengthy trips?

How do you manage paying your credit card bills while you are traveling?

I posted this same question on the US board. My situation applies specifically for a trip to Bolivia and Peru so I thought I would perhaps get some different answers on this board. I am a resident of the US.

I am in the process of putting all of our regular utility bills on an automatic draft. However, I am not sure I'd want this approach for my credit card bills. I know some of you plan quite lengthy trips and was wondering how you manage paying your bills while you are away. We will be on a 24-day trip in Jan/Feb 05 and I'm working to get our financial bases covered. (By the way, we are the type who pay our credit card bills off each month to avoid interest payments.)

- Sharon

SharonNRayMc is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,066
Unless you're really out 'there', you can probably pay via the internet. That's how I pay mine every month. You can see your balance and then pay off the entire thing or part of it. Really easy with a Citibank card. Jean
JeanH is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 12:19 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 270
Doing it by internet is the best way while you are traveling as long as you have access to it from any where in the world. You can also sign up with many credit card companies to withdraw the minimum payment automatically from your checking account for the month you will be traveling. When you return you can easily pay the remaining balance avoiding late fees.
PONCHOTJ is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 861
You can call them and pay in full your balance the day of your departure. Then they will bill you 30 days hence.Doing it this way negates any finance charges.
mgmargate is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 03:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,265
I'm not big on completing financial transactions via public use internet computers.

Before you leave, you can set up with your credit card co.'s to pay either your minimum balance, full balance, or a preset amount of your choosing by the due date, so you don't incur late charges.

If it is your goal to avoid interest, you would need to pay off your full balance. Remember, you have 60 days from the time a charge appears on your credit card bill to protest it, even if you do pay off your full balance.

Have a nice trip.
lvk is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 363
Do not trust the internet, particularly in Latin America (I lived in Bolivia for 2 years; loved it). I always write a check bigger than I know the amount will be, put it in a stamped envelope for a trusted friend, with a sticky "mail on..date". As you know you can't usually pay early as the computer will not register your intent. By the way, please do drink lots and lots of water to prevent both dehydration in the dry climate, and to prevent altitude sickness. If you do get racing heartbeat, disorientation, or other signs of distress, take it seriously (not the headache the first few days; that's normal). I know of one older person who dies of altitude sickness going back home to Taos in New Mexico, and a nurse who had severe symptoms and had to be evacuated to a lower altitude. Physicians say there is no way to predict who will be struck by it; ;not one of my peace corps group of 25 did. So it is unlikely, and you should have a great time in these incredible countries.
humanone is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,638
We prepay around US2000 per card (Amex, Visa, Mastercard) depending on length of trip and just check up via the net weekly how much credit we still have. Works for us!
Lyndie is offline  
Oct 13th, 2004, 10:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 978
Thank you for all the thoughtful replies. I have a few follow-up questions.

I called one of my credit cards' customer service numbers (Citibank) and was surprised to find out that paying over the phone carried a $14.95 fee. Is this typical?

Are there ways you can safeguard your account information while using internet access at an internet cafe? I am, like lvk and humanone, very hesitant to do any financial transactions over this sort of internet access using a publicly-shared computer.

We have a Bank of America account and I'm pleased to find out some of you are very happy with their on-line service. I just have been a bit in the dark ages with doing the whole on-line thing for bill paying. I applaud those of you who do so. =D>

When I called Citibank, I also learned that they will cut you a check for any overpayment rather than allow you to make advance payments. Lyndie, what credit card companies are you dealing with that do not follow this policy?

Thanks again for the wonderful input.
- Sharon
SharonNRayMc is offline  
Oct 13th, 2004, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 861
My previous post tells you how to do it with no fees.What's the problem?
mgmargate is offline  
Oct 13th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 532
I have cards with MBNA and CapOne and have prepaid both in the past with absolutely no problem. I've never heard of ANY company cutting you a check for an overpayment without having to call several times to request the refund.

I would be leary of paying a large credit card bill over the Internet.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2004, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 444
Our full payment is taken out directly from our checking account. We still receive monthly statements. The same goes for electric, telephone, water, safety deposit box, storage, etc.,
Wildflower is offline  
Oct 13th, 2004, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,183
On-line banking is the way to go!! I just schedule all my payments before we leave. If you don't know the amount of your CC statements in advance, you can either set up a payment for the minimum (or a bit over) and pay the balance when you get home or go to an internet cafe and access your accounts on-line while your traveling and initiate the payments from there.
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Oct 13th, 2004, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,638
SharonNRayMc-Hi again. We bank with two different banks in Oz. Both allow us to make whatever overpayment we want to our Visa and Mastercard and the same applies with Amex. No problems here with a credit balance on your card! I would not be concerned about internet fraud unless you can transfer money to external sources from your internet account. Ours is set up to only allow us to transfer to our other accounts with the bank. Not to transfer to external or other internal account holders! Get a card that allows you to prepay!
Lyndie is offline  
Oct 13th, 2004, 05:32 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 46
SharonNRayMc: $14.95 to make a phone payment seems a little excessive.
If you set up your account online now, you'll be much more comfortable using it when you are out of the country. You'll be required to set up a user name and password to access your account and as with all online banking you should close the browser before you walk away...this protects you further, so that someone cannot use the 'back' button to look at your info. As a bonus, you'll be able to view all your transactions and verify currency conversions. The credit card companies have a lot invested to make sure that they are providing the most secure forms of internet transactions possible.
That said, if you're still not up to online payments, check with your credit card companies to set up 'autopay' very much like your utility payments. An option should be offered to make minimum, fixed, or full pymt. You'll need to do so soon, as this can take one or two billing cycles to become activated. If this doesn't work out for you in the long term at least you'll be covered when you're out of the country. Follow-up and cancel in writing if you wish to stop this later.
That sounds like a very interesting trip. Have fun!

mary_s is offline  

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