With the holiday season fast approaching and the availability of specialist credit cards for using abroad, many of us will simply pack a payment card rather than buying foreign currency. Staying safe from fraudulent behavior while you’re away is absolutely imperative, as not being able to use your card can be a huge inconvenience, let alone having to investigate unauthorized charges.

To ensure you enjoy your time away and minimize the chances of any card issues, it’s worth thinking about possible situations you could be in where your credit card – or your personal information and identity as a whole – could be compromised.

Make Sure Your Details Are Up to Date

When was the last time you checked with your card issuer that they have the correct contact details on file for you? Or checked your current credit limit?

Doing this will enable them to contact you if they notice any unusual spending patterns on your card.  It can also be worth mentioning to them that you are going abroad, as regular everyday use followed by a transaction on the other side of the world a few days later, will set off red flags in your account, which could halt future payments until they’ve verified the transaction with you.

If you happen to be in a totally different time zone, it could be days before you’re able to resolve the issue and get your payment card reinstated. This delay, and the resulting inconvenience, could prove costly in more ways than one. Imagine all the margaritas you could miss out on!

Best Practice for Traveling with a Credit Card

Having a note of your credit card number, as well as the supplier number (which can usually be found on the back of the card, on your statements, or on the supplier’s website), is also advisable.

Here are a few more top tips for keeping your card data safe this holiday season – before, during and after you return from your travels…

  • Don’t take every single card in your wallet or purse, only the one(s) you know you’ll use. You wouldn’t take your whole wardrobe with you (well, most of us wouldn’t), so why take all your cards?
  • Make sure you’re able to use your credit card at your destination. Some card issuers have restrictions on certain countries or cities.
  • Keep your card supplier’s 24-hour contact details with you in case of emergency.
  • Contact your card supplier beforehand to ensure they have your correct contact details.
  • Keep your card with you at all times. Don’t allow it to be taken away from you in shops, restaurants or bars.
  • As you would in the UK, make sure you cover the keypad and shield your PIN in a shop or at a cash machine.
  • Ensure you check over your statements when you return home, noting any unfamiliar transactions. Many people fail to do this and are caught out.

You’ll also be pleased to know, thanks to the Consumer Credit Act, if you buy something with your credit card costing between £100 and £30,000, card issuers provide you with extra protection if the goods are faulty or not delivered. This also applies to overseas purchases.

Following our top tips should keep your credit card safe and let you focus on having a great time! Happy holidays!