New York Times: Credit cards far from home

Susan Stellin writes about notifying your credit card issuer before leaving on trips out of the country.

In most cases, such a red flag would only result in a merchant’s being asked to verify the customer’s identification at the point of sale before the purchase is approved, or the customer might be asked to call the card issuer and confirm a recent buying spree.

But for those who are traveling when such a fraud alert occurs – particularly overseas, and especially in areas with a high incidence of credit card fraud – resolving the matter can get more complicated. In the most extreme scenario, the credit card might be temporarily suspended until the bank verifies it has not been stolen.

Card issuers say this last possibility is unlikely, and some banks stop short of recommending that customers call before traveling to make sure their itinerary is on file. But at least some card issuers and those who follow the credit card industry say it is a good idea, particularly when traveling abroad, as do customers who have experienced problems far from home.

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