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(37,461 posts)
Sat Jun 12, 2021, 11:58 AM Jun 2021

Need advice on using credit cards outside of the USA, fraud alerts...

Hello kind readers,

Some of you know that I love travel very much. In February 2022, I am doing another round-the-world trip (as in 1997) to South Korea, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Colombia. I will be using some local currency, of course, but also my credit cards when I need to.

Question: I know the most important thing to do, is to call the bank/credit union and inform them exactly what you're doing, where you are going, and what you will be purchasing (as much as you can). Yesterday, I did just that. I called my credit union, went through all the airfares and hotel reservations I would be purchasing, and asked explicitly what else I could do to fend off the fraud department. An hour later, the fraud department demanded I call them. I was a tad frustrated.

My impression (perhaps faulty) is that American Express is the most friendly credit card to international travel and what you have to buy.

Any more advice ? I just don't want any problems or have to make any phone calls. Thank you in advance !


P.S. Yes, I am fully aware of COVID-19 issues. I will deal with those. Hopefully by February, the COVID-19 threat worldwide will be either dead or on its last legs.

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(17,074 posts)
1. Make sure you card doesn't charge extra for
Sat Jun 12, 2021, 12:03 PM
Jun 2021

international purchases. I’ve used both Discover and Chase Visa and never had a problem.


(102,979 posts)
2. American Express is the only oe I've used internationally. They have (or used to have) offices
Sat Jun 12, 2021, 12:04 PM
Jun 2021

in most European cities to offer assistance and there have traditionally been quite a few protections included to safeguard your card and $$.


(17,230 posts)
3. Let your Credit Card company or companies know ahead of time..
Sat Jun 12, 2021, 12:06 PM
Jun 2021

That you will be traveling abroad. That way, they have all transactions you make on record and that it will be you or your spouse making purchases. Use no more than 2 cards.

If you need to do cash exchanges, let your Bank know as well if you use your Debit card. The exchange rate is less. Also helpful is to have enough in the currency of the country you will be traveling to for tips, etc.

We did that when we went to the UK and Australia in different years. There was no fraudulent charges at all. Good luck.


(2,128 posts)
4. I would check the countries you are visiting to see which cards they are most used to handling.
Sat Jun 12, 2021, 12:15 PM
Jun 2021

I used to have American Express and MasterCard (1980s), and some places wouldn't take MC, but others wouldn't take AE. This is true both in shops AND ATM machines (I could tell you stories!).

If you can take two different cards, I'd do so. I would also store them in different places on my person when traveling between countries. My preference, when I have a safe place for things in a hotel, is to leave one card behind, having checked ahead which one would likely be accepted.

Happy traveling!


(18,756 posts)
6. Lesson learned in France: if using unattended pay stations (tolls, gas, etc.) you gotta have a chip
Sat Jun 12, 2021, 12:21 PM
Jun 2021

in your card and use a PIN. Using in stores, in person, no problem.


(548 posts)
7. My credit card was stolen when I was on vacation once
Sat Jun 12, 2021, 05:25 PM
Jun 2021

I had the card but somebody was using it fraudulently. It was the only card I was carrying so I called them and told them I had to have it for hotels and such and they unfroze it for my trip and canceled the fraudulent charges. I'm sure that wasn't a great thing to do but I was in trouble without it.

So hopefully this gives you some reassurance.

I miss traveler's checks.

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