Quick Tips

10 credit card safety tips for business travelers

by Lylah M. Alphonse  |  4720 views  |  0 comments  |        Rate this now! 

It's super convenient to use your credit card overseas instead of carry cash or travelers checks. But it's also too easy for identity thieves and scam artists to take advantage of you while you're far from home. Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Before you go, make a list of your card issuer's contact information. Take a copy with you (don't keep it in your wallet), and leave a copy at home.
  2. Keep your cards from getting damaged. Those magnetic strips and bar codes are more delicate than they look. Most banks offer thin, protective sleeves (you can also order them from www.card-protectors.com).
  3. Read the fine print. Many cards tack on a conversion fee for foreign currency, and some charge fees for cash withdrawals as well.
  4. Know your limit. It's best to keep a zero balance, of course, but at the very lease be aware of your credit limit. If your card has a very low line of credit, a temporary charge (or "freeze") from a hotel or rental car company may max you out.
  5. Check the expiration date. You don't want to travel with a card that will expire while you're on the road.
  6. Debit or credit? If you use your debit card overseas, be sure to keep those conversion fees in mind and make sure you have a little extra in the account to cover them.
  7. Block the screen. If you're using and ATM abroad, make sure you're standing right in front of the screen so that no one behind you can see what you're typing.
  8. Monitor the transaction. Keep your card within sight whenever possible. It's easy for a store clerk to swipe your card twice, or for someone to jot down your credit card number while you're paying for dinner.
  9. Don't keep your cards together. If you lose your wallet and all of your cards are in it, you may be in big trouble. Keep an emergency card in a separate place -- zipped into the lining of your luggage, slipped into your shoe -- just in case.
  10. Don't keep your pin with your card. If you have trouble remembering your PIN (or if your bank or credit card company won't allow you to pick one you can remember easily), feel free to write it down -- just be sure to keep it somewhere separate from your card. One idea from TravelSmart Newsletter: Write it in your address book as the last four digits of the phone number of a fake friend.

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