If you’re cruising soon, what do you plan to bring in your wallet?
It has long been a well-known travel tip to not carry too much cash with you in case it is lost or stolen. But these days, it may be even riskier to carry a debit card, which in the hands of a thief could compromise more for you than just your money.
Aside from cruise line authorizations that can tie up your available balance, we’ve come up with 7 reasons not to cruise with a debit card.
You can see a list of debit holds by cruise lines here.
If you try to use your debit card in one of the ports on your cruise, chances are your bank will flag it for suspicious activity and freeze your account. Then you’ll be blocked from making purchases or taking out cash, even from ATMs on the ship. Always inform your bank before your trip of where you’re going so that they don’t assume your card has been stolen and place these holds on it.
2. Easy to Lose
Like any and all small objects we carry around in our pockets and purses, debit cards are easy to lose. While many banks can overnight a card to your next port of call (usually to a bank) if it’s lost, it’s easier to travel without one to minimize risk. Carry cash instead and one credit card for emergencies. But make sure that credit card is one that can easily have charges blocked in case it is lost or stolen.
3. Dishonest People
In today’s high-tech world, pick-pocketers are no longer your only concern. Thieves have ways of stealing your account information by one quick swipe of your card (perhaps by a waiter who disappears with your card for a few minutes), by stealing your info through devices plugged into ATMs, or even with devices designed to remotely steal your info if the thief just gets it in the vicinity of your purse or pocket.
4. Compromised Information
If you happen to fall prey to one of these skimmers, there’s no telling what they may do with your info. Doug once had his debit card number stolen through an ATM machine in Honduras, and the skimmers tried to buy a first class ticket from Miami to London. If this happens to you, you’ll have no choice but to obtain new debit cards with new numbers, meaning any automatic bill pay or accounts such as one on Amazon that is connected to the card will also need updating.
5. Avoid Random Charges
Banks love when you travel abroad because then they can stick you with international travel fees and currency conversions fees. Avoid the extra costs and leave your debit card at home. Either carry cash onto the ship, or use the ATMs on the ship to get cash. Or better yet, get cash in the ship’s casino to avoid those ATM fees altogether. Also, you can always exchange money for foreign currencies at your home bank before leaving on your cruise.
6. Holds on Funds
If your bank puts a hold on your account because your card was lost or stolen, it could take up to a month in some cases for the bank to lift that hold. So not only will you be between a rock and a hard place during your cruise, but the headache could continue long after your vacation is over.
7. Long Time for Refunds
Banks aren’t always so quick to recognize fraudulent charges and to freeze your account. Sometimes the charges go through and you have to call your bank and file a report. It could take weeks for the bank the investigate the charges and prove that you didn’t make them before it issues you a refund. In the meantime, you’re hung out to dry without your own money because of some crooks. Leave your debit card at home and use your onboard sailing card to get cash.
Do you take your debit card on a cruise? Let us know below!
Featured photo: flickr/Shadia Naser