Here's What Happens When You Don't Tell Your Credit Card Issuer About Travel Plans

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If you’re gearing up to do your fair share of travel this year, you’re not alone. Data from IPX1031 finds that 50% of Americans plan to travel more in 2024 than in 2023.

Now, there are certain steps you might take before you head out on a big trip. Those may include researching attractions, booking reservations at popular sites, and checking your packing list twice to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything essential, like, say, your passport.

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But there’s another important move you should make before heading out on a trip, whether you’re traveling domestically or going abroad. And failing to make that move could result in a world of hassle.

Inform your credit card company of your travel plans

You may not think to notify your credit card company of your plans to travel. But that’s a mistake that could result in a whole bunch of needless aggravation.

If you don’t tell your credit card issuer that you’ll be traveling to a different country or state, the company won’t anticipate you making purchases from a new location. If your credit card issuer starts seeing charges on your card from a different destination — say, a gas station 12 states away — it may flag those purchases as fraudulent as a means of protecting you.

At that point, though, you may not be able to use your credit card until you’ve called in to confirm that the charges are legitimate. And you might have to cover certain purchases with cash or a debit card on the spot until the matter gets resolved. That’s annoying.

In some cases, confirming that a given transaction isn’t fraudulent is a simple matter of calling a number or using an app to verify its legitimacy. But what if you’re traveling to a national park in a remote part of the country with poor to non-existent cell service? If you’re trying to fill up your car on the way there, you may not be able to get a signal to contact your credit card issuer and verify that the purchase is, indeed, being made by you.

Plus, what if you’re traveling internationally and don’t have a means of making calls? Once again, you’re in a jam.

That’s why it always pays to notify your credit card issuer ahead of time when you’re planning to take a vacation. You may be able to log into your credit card account and update your travel plans or dates there. Or, you may need to call the number on the back of your card. It’s a simple move that could help you avoid a world of hassle.

One other situation where it pays to reach out to your credit card company

When you fill up gas in another state that’s far away or buy groceries at a supermarket that’s 250 miles away from where you live, it can raise a red flag with your credit card company. But so can gift card purchases.

So if you’re buying multiple gift cards at once, in that situation, it also wouldn’t hurt to call your credit card company and inform it of your plans. That could prevent those transactions from being flagged as fraudulent — and save you the aggravation of having to call in at a time when you might already be at a store trying to get in and out.

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