Using credit/debit cards abroad - do this before you travel

OK you may all know this - but just in case - before you go on holiday:

It seems that all banks now want you to phone before you go abroad, tell them when and what countries you are travelling to, they make a note of it so your card isn’t declined. It’s an anti-fraud measure, but wasn’t in place last time we went on holiday.

It may take a few minutes on the phone before you go, but what a pain it would be if you didn’t know about it:w00t:

some, like mine (HSBC), also offer you the option to do it online as well :slight_smile:

I never have to do this but my girlfirend has to …I guess its because I am an international jetsetter (or maybe the email I sent saying to block my girlfriends credit cards did something)

Fine if your bank actually listen to you.

Before we left for the Med back in January we notified the bank in writing and in person and gave them a list of the countries we would be visiting and also told them that when not in these countries we would be onboard a ship in the Med, which is registered in the Bahamas.

2 days out, my wife went to get some money out of the ATM and it refused and she was unable to get any cash out for the remainder of th trip (18 days) although I had no such problem with either debit or credit card.

When we got home we queried this with the bank and asked why it had refused her card when we had told them where we would be.

They said that someone tried to use her card in the Bahamas. Next question we asked, “Did you bother reading our written notification which also told you that when not in the countries stated we would be onboard a ship registered in the Bahamas”? Their reply “Yes we did read it, but didn’t think you were being serious and so we disregarded!”

Why were we not serious? We were visiting 9 countries in 18 days on a Cruise Ship!!!

Anyway, 1 complaint later to the FSA and we very quickly received a written apology and £250 compensation.

Some banks seem to think that we have to ask their permission before we can access our own cash, and as for their anti fraud checks, that is another story as we have a major complaint ongoing at the moment over this very issue where everyone is passing the buck and telling out and out porkies.

But that is for another post.

this is a bloody nuisance, for some of us who have to travel allot for work, the last thing on your mind will be to phone up to check your card works for a day in france etc!

I was best man for my mate’s stag do up in Manc a few weeks ago. Everyone on the stag had prepaid for the kitty/hotels/activities etc and…you guessed it…HSBC froze my card. You would imagine they’d have a 24hr customer service number on the back of the card, but no. They are only open from 9am…

My letter of complaint went in to them over a fortnight ago and they have not acknowledged it. They’ve got 2 months to formally reply before it’ll go to the FOS

yup my brother told them he was going to Vegas yet they still blocked his cards and he had to rely on friends lending him money!

As T.C says, it’s not a perfect system. The anti-fraud measures in place are completely automated and there’s quite a lot of evidence to suggest they do not take into consideration any advance warning you give your bank.

Natwest offer sub-accounts, which are very good for travelling though. You get a new card and transfer money into it, enough for your trip, and that way if it gets compromised, your regular current account is not affected.

Remember as well that nearly all credit/debit cards incur a transaction fee on on top of the crappy exchange rate you get offered, so using your card abroad is a really bad idea unless you have to and is very expensive. It’s better to take cash for frequent purchases, i.e. fuel, food and tolls, and then leave the big stuff like hotels on the card.

Take cash - it’s easier.

When I go abroad, I get a text from lloyds saying my card has been used abroad for the sum of X. If this wasn’t you pls call this number immediately.

I then get a text after every transaction I make abroad. They did stop a transaction in Spain which was for over £400 but I got a text with a phone number instantly, called them up and they then approved it.

yep, lloyds is quite good at that, but i think i would prefer not to be able to take money out rather than the bank not have these measures in place.

TC, the bank which has been notified of your trips and ‘disregarded as bollox’, which was that? in case i have an account with it i would cancel it immediately. :smiley:

You can also do this online.

Lloyds TSB is the bank that likes to say “Check wiith us and we will decide if you can spend any of your own hard earnt cash!”

We also had a $ and Euro travel card, through Lloyds and even that was a problem.

Suffice to say, that account has now been cancelled and we have our travel Visa/mastercard with someone else

Wish they blocked mine when i was away:w00t:

I’ve had to travel a lot re work and have had this happen to me on a few occasions. The most annoying was when I was actually going to live in Afghanistan, had a long meeting with the personal banker, gave all the details and my actual address in Kabul. Lo and behold, when I arrived and had to get some money out before I got paid, I went to Kabul bank, which involved a huge number of security checkpoints and searches, and my visa was declined. It then took hours on the phone from Afghanistan to sort it out. It also happened on route and back in Dubai and has happened in Rwanda when I was trying to get money out in Gisenyi for the gorillas (to see them not to hand them cash), plus other places.

They have been a bit better recently, but many banks don’t seem to realise we are in a global economy when it comes to actual customer accounts and a world of global travel. Numerous people travel for work and on holiday and move across borders, visiting more than one country on one trip. It’s not uncommon. In fact it’s probably far more rare for people not to leave the country. It seems crazy that they don’t seem to have worked out a more efficient system to deal with it more effectively.

just to stick up for the banks, it’s all very well saying “my hard earned money” but guess what happens if you are victim of a fraud attack? They put the money back in your account and investigate it.

You would be the first to moan if someone cleared your account and you never saw it again, you can’t have it both ways.

I think the problem is though Leon, when people set up meetings with the personnel at the banks, inform them of their movements and plans, then the banks either disregard it or fail to process it.

Of course it is necessary to have checks and balances in place to combat fraud, but given that lots of people travel for work these days and also on holiday - there have to be better methods of ensuring information is processed efficiently and they are able to use their cash:)

that is so weird!

i had such good customer service experience with lloyds over 14 years, they always very quick to put things right and to give money back in case of fraud!

maybe its me, i tend to get what i want most of the time…:smiley:

I have no problem with fraud checks, I support and applaud the banks trying to ensure that our money is safe, but when my wife gets a random fraud check done every 4 weeks and her card gets blocked even though the payments she makes on her card can be traced back to the address of the card holder, and to be told that she is using her card at a garage to fill her car up, and therefore this is regarded as suspicious, excuse me? How else does my wife get fuel without having to go and get cash every time.

There are fraud checks and there are fraud checks, and if you heard some of the bullshit that has been given to me over the past few months, is it any wonder I have very little hair left?

I particularly do not like it when the banks blatantly lie (as they have done on more than one occasion to us), where if the shoe was on the other foot, we would be clobbered big time.

until you need to buy fuel, in France, Belgium, on a Sunday, off the motorway network:w00t: