LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – June 21, 2013 – As you plan for an out of state or overseas vacation, your Better Business Bureau of Arkansas is alerting consumers of the possibility they may not be able to use their credit cards, if they don’t inform the card issuer of your travel plans. In an effort to reduce losses due to credit card fraud, many issuers will lock down a credit card if they detect an unusual customer spending pattern, and that includes larger-than-usual charges made out of the state.
Once a charge is rejected, a telephone call to the card issuer can remedy the situation, though it may take some time before purchases are permitted. Consumers can avoid these problems by informing credit card companies before leaving town.
Your Better Business Bureau offers several tips to avoid the surprise, embarrassment and problems resulting from a credit card fraud alert:
- Carry a debit card too – If you are unable to use your credit card because of a fraud alert, you still will be able to use your ATM card to withdraw money for purchases and emergencies. Keep some cash on hand as well, for restaurants and stores which may not accept credit card transactions.
- Check your credit limit – Avoid going over your limit and resulting interest fees by making sure that you have available credit. Also, check to make sure your card does not expire while you are out of town.
- Verify the customer service number - If you leave the country, the customer service telephone number on the back of your card most likely won’t work. Find out the contact number for the country you intend to visit.
- Make a note of your card number – If your card is lost or stolen, you will want to have the number and expiration date on hand to close the account. Keep the information in a safe place or leave it with a trusted friend or relative.
- Watch out for billing irregularities – Keep all receipts and reconcile them with your credit card statement, to identify any double charges or mistakes with restaurant charges, such as being charged for someone else’s meal.