Paycheck Chronicles

C'mon Now, Navy Federal


My family has been living overseas for two years now.  One constant during the last two years is the certainty that if we try to buy gas in Europe, or purchase tickets for the train or an airline, our card will be frozen for suspected fraud.  It has been a little annoying and a bit of a pain, but nothing unmanageable.  I'd call, or they'd call me, and I'd explain for the 20th time that yes, a tank full of gas does cost $183, or that yes, I did buy airline tickets from Italy to Amsterdam, and they'd unfreeze my card.  It hasn't been a huge problem.

Until this week.

This week, my family had the audacity to try to move from Italy to England.  During the six day trip, we bought gas multiple times, and stayed in hotels for five nights.  Despite regular conversations about how we live in Europe, and we travel, Navy Federal has frozen both my husband's account and my account.  (We keep separate credit card accounts.  This is one reason.)  Heck, even my buddies at USAA declined my charge for a Chunnel crossing.  I tried to call them, but I didn't have enough money on my prepaid European cell and I was disconnected while on hold for the right department.

I have to admit, I'm disappointed in Navy Federal.  I have talked to them numerous times, explaining that I live in Europe and I travel frequently.  My husband has done the same for his account.  Yet, they continue to freeze our cards regularly.  It was common knowledge in our last community that Navy Federal's credit cards couldn't be counted on to work when you needed them to work.  There is obviously a problem in their fraud detection algorithm, and they haven't figured it out yet.  (Despite my frequent references in our telephone calls.)

I am curious:  Has anyone overseas figured out a way to get your Navy Federal credit card to work consistently, or have you just given up and started using another card?  I would love to hear solutions.


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