5 Reasons to Tell the Bank You’re Cruisin’

IMG_0231By Sarah Phillips

You’ve got plenty of things to get done before you head out to sea on your next cruise. And no one likes to add more items to an already lengthy to do list, but there’s a lot of benefit to doing just one simple thing: Call your bank and tell them you’re going on vacation.

So why should we call our bank:

1. To keep your card active. Banks look out for strange or unusual activity when it comes to credit card usage. If you haven’t told them you’re going on a cruise (since most visit several different countries in a short amount of time), they might find those transactions suspicious and shut your card down until they can talk to you about them. Avoid this and keep your card in working order by giving them a heads up before you set sail.

2. Unauthorized charges.  If you’ve told your bank you’re going to Italy and Spain, but suddenly your card is being used in Russia or Canada, they’ll have a better idea that these are unauthorized charges and it gives them a head start on shutting the card down and reducing unauthorized charges. The more info the bank has on your travels, the more accurate their fraud monitoring can be. It can also help you with disputing charges if that needs to happen.

3. Adjust your security level.  Most cards have several different limits you can adjust when traveling. You can ask for notifications for charges over certain amounts, you can lower your daily spending limits, or you can reduce your ATM withdrawal limits. By calling your bank, you can work together to come up with the best plan for you and your card while you’re on your cruise.

4. The Best Contact Info. The 800 Number you just used to call your bank before your cruise isn’t likely to work outside of the United States. Ask your bank for the best overseas contact number. Most banks have direct numbers that you can call collect from overseas. If your card is lost or stolen or even shut off, this number is vital to have (and not often published on bank websites).

5. Peace of mind. You’re on vacation and the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your credit card will work when you need it too or unauthorized charges or card fraud. One phone call gives you peace of mind so you’ll be able to really relax (at least once you’ve finished packing anyway).  A little planning and you’ll be stress free and relaxing on your cruise before you know it.

This is one of the important things to have on the checklist of your cruise vacation. If you have any comments, we’d love to hear them.

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