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Vacation Security Essentials for Your Credit Cards

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Arm yourself against credit card theft and fraud on your travels by taking proper precautions to keep your cards and account safe and secure.

Before you head out of town, tell your card issuers where you are going and how long you're traveling, so they'll be on guard against unauthorized transactions. Update them on the best way to reach you while you’re traveling.

In the event your card is lost or stolen, or you notice unauthorized transactions on your account, immediately contact your card issuer to report it. Be prepared with a list of card issuers' fraud hotlines along with your account numbers, and keep it in a secure place separate from your wallet. Some bank’s toll-free numbers may not work overseas; check that you have the right numbers before you leave.

When traveling, carry at least two cards so you have a backup option in case one gets lost, stolen, damaged or closed temporarily. Avoid using standalone or unusual-looking ATMs not located in secure areas. Many financial institutions have branches and ATMs worldwide — scope out the nearest ones to your destination.

Be extra cautious when banking online from a Wi-Fi hotspot, hotel business center, or other public facility, as their servers may not be encrypted. Conducting your banking from your smartphone via your bank’s mobile app offers a more secure option when you’re traveling — just be sure your phone is password-protected and you’re using your wireless carrier's network.

To recap, here are the steps to take to ensure you stay secure:

  1. Inform card issuers of your vacation plans (dates and destination) and how to reach you.
  2. Make a list of card issuers’ fraud hotlines and your account numbers. Keep it in a safe place.
  3. Take at least two cards so that you’re prepared with a backup option.
  4. Avoid using standalone or unusual-looking ATMs.
  5. Conduct online and mobile banking from secure web connections or your wireless network only.

Extra Credit for Your Next Vacation

As you plan for next year’s getaway, take advantage of all the savings opportunities and rewards programs your financial institution offers. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or simply an annual vacationer, you may want to consider choosing cards that offer travel rewards and no foreign transaction fees.

Learn more about how choosing the right credit card can help you get where you’re going faster.

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