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The holiday you had planned is fast approaching and like most other holiday goers, you’d be looking forward to hitting the sunny beaches or enjoying the cold air on a mountain top, whatever floats your boat. You may have started packing already with the required swimwear or mountain climbing gear but with whatever protection you are taking against the elements of nature, you should stop and ask yourself are you taking enough protection of your finances. Stolen credit cards or debit cards can throw a major wrench in one’s plans of enjoying their vacation and can quickly turn it from a relaxing holiday to a hellish nightmare. Below are a few tips to keep your credit cards or debit cards secure so that you can have the peace of mind to enjoy your holiday
Do not flaunt it if you’ve got it:
while travelling with your card, make sure you do not flash it about even unknowingly while reaching into your wallet to fetch some spare change. If possible try and purchase a travel wallet that allows you to safely conceal your cash and other vital documents underneath your clothing. The added effort of fetching the card out when required will be well worth it as it is not a pleasant experience to have your card or its details stolen while travelling abroad
Carry Photocopies of the Card:
While travelling, it would be extremely helpful if you can carry in your luggage, a photocopy of the card both front and back along with the telephone line of the bank in to lodge reports if stolen. The reason behind this is that most people wouldn’t know the full credit card number and tend to forget the bank’s emergency telephone numbers. Carrying photocopies allows one to make stolen card reports easier. To prevent the photocopies from being stolen and utilized one should blot out the name and expiry dates. This means that one needs to remember the expiry dates.
Carry One Essential Card:
When carrying just one card to utilize the cardholder need not worry about multiple cards or worry about the details of multiple cards. If one loses their wallet then the damage will also be minimized as compared to losing 2 or more cards
Do not tag your card along:
Not all experiences will require the use of a credit card. Hiking or climbing mountains leaves one with very little avenues to swipe their card. Plan ahead, if you do not plan on shopping in mainstream malls or dining in upscale eateries lock your credit card in the hotel room itself along with your other vital documents. You'll probably only need your card for shopping in malls and boutiques or dining in upscale eateries. If you know this is what your day is going to entail; then you can bring your card along for the ride.
Ditch the Debit Card:
Debit cards are directly linked to the Physical money in one’s account which makes it riskier to wave around while travelling abroad. One can refute charges of a stolen credit card but stolen debit cards can lead to a significant loss of money while waiting to refute the charges. If a debit card is absolutely necessary due to lack of a credit card, then limit the money in the account to a smaller number. For example if the debit card account has RM 15,000 as savings in it, transfer a huge chunk into an FD and limit the account balance to say RM 1000. This would give you spending money as well as limit your losses should you lose the card
Put in a word in advance:
Regardless of how excited or interested in your awesome itinerary the operator sounds, putting in a word of one’s travel plans through a mail informing them of dates of travel. This serves 2 purposes, one is that claims of lost card overseas can be verified easily and two is that some banks may notice overseas expenses out of the blue and may block the card thinking it has been stolen when it hasn’t which can prove to be just as troublesome trying to unblock.
Swipe for what it’s worth:
Being mindful of your credit card and ensuring it’s not stolen can truly make one’s holiday that much more pleasurable. When one is travelling and plans to incur charges onto their card, they should choose the right card, one which can give them extra points for overseas expenses or one that gives preferential conversion rates and chances of earning cash back. One can also upgrade their existing credit card to one which provides more travel benefits.
While keeping a close eye on the credit card may seem like an added source of worry, the precautions taken is well worth the effort and goes a long way in ensuring you enjoy your vacation to the fullest.