When vacation time hits, you likely look forward to relaxing, unwinding, bonding with your loved ones someplace unfamiliar, and checking off new items on your travel bucket list. It’s on those travel occasions that a credit card comes in extremely handy; it puts less of a burden on you to carry large amounts of foreign currency, and best of all, it enables a variety of cashless transactions. With a credit card linked to the world’s biggest payment networks, Visa and MasterCard, paying for accommodation, transport, meals, and shopping should be a breeze—no matter where in the world you are.
But using a credit card while abroad will demand extra care and attention from you. If you lose your Philippine-issued card or have your bank account compromised in any way, your dream vacation could turn into a total nightmare. Knowing that, it’s best to make credit card safety a priority while you travel. If you own a credit card in the Philippines and you’ll be taking it with you on your holiday abroad, here are seven safety tips that you should include in your travel preps.
- Inform your credit card provider that you will be going abroad. You will know firsthand what security measures your bank has on your card once you inform them that you’ll be using it in a different country. Do tell them that you will be on holiday. Say where you are going and how long you will be there. This way, they will know not to block transactions or suspend your account for a purchase made in a foreign establishment—and conversely, they can flag suspicious card-related activity that’s made elsewhere.
- Make sure that the bank has your updated contact information before you leave. If you’ve changed the mobile number or email address linked to your credit card any time before your travels, do update your bank with this information. This ensures that you receive important notifications on time, even when you are out of the country.
- Get to know your card’s anti-fraud features. As one last hurrah before you pack your bags, your passport, and your wallet, you may want to go over your card’s anti-fraud features one last time. This way, you can be reassured of the protections the card affords you, for example by way of SMS alerts or the use of one-time passwords (OTPs) for 3D-secure online transactions.
- Keep your credit card within your line of vision every time you use it. When it’s finally time to use your credit card in a foreign establishment, don’t let it leave your sight. See that it’s dipped in the proper terminal, handled by authorized staff, and put safely back in your wallet after the transaction has been completed.
- Watch out for other devices linked to your card, such as your smartphone or tablet. Your card isn’t the only thing you should keep secure when you’re traveling—you should also watch out for any devices linked to it. If you have your credit card details saved on a mobile app, such as that of your bank or an ecommerce site, secure the device with a PIN code. That way, even if you lose your phone or your tablet, no one else will be able to access your card details or make unauthorized transactions with either of them.
- Designate one main credit card for the trip, but keep backup options. Aside from your main card, it would be good to have a backup credit card, a debit card, some cash, or a combination of all of these on your person. These will take you through emergencies, or through transactions where credit cards aren’t in common use (such as in a night market or hole-in-the-wall restaurant).
- Don’t delay reporting to the bank in case your card gets lost or stolen. If the worst-case scenario does unfold and your credit card gets either lost or stolen, keep calm and contact your bank. See to it that they deactivate the card as soon as possible and curb any instance of unwanted theft.
If kept safe, within close quarters, and tracked by your issuing bank, your credit card will prove to be an awesome travel buddy. Given that these seven safety tips are followed, you’ll be sure to have a pleasant and memorable holiday vacation!