Please sign in to post.

Notifying your bank

I've read a lot of articles that suggest calling your bank or financial institution to alert them to your travel plans. When? The day before you depart? The week before? When is the best time?

Thanks!

Posted by
15578 posts

Any time before you leave, there is no right time. If you talk to a human, they will set it up as you speak. If it is over the internet, it will be done when you hit "enter". You tell them the dates and what countries you are visiting, simple as that.

Posted by
2292 posts

I don't think it matters too much when you do it. Every bank I have called seems to enter the information in an automated system, so it should stay in their records. I don't know long it takes for this system to synch with everything else so to be safe I'd do it at least a few days before you leave. Maybe a week would make sense? You don't want to be worrying about this stuff right before you go.

At about a month out I start going through a list of boring, practical stuff to do before a trip (hold mail, reserve airport parking, hire lawn mower, contact bank...) and end up calling the banks somewhere around 2 weeks out which has always seemed fine.

You do this for all credit cards you will be taking, as well as your ATM card - but many can be done online. If you log in to your account on the credit card website, there may be a section for travel alerts. If so, you can do it there and not have to call.

Edit - remember to tell them every country you will be in. If you are going to Italy but have a layover in Paris...tell them Italy and France because you may want to use your card or get money at an ATM in the Paris airport. If you going to Germany but may cross the border into Austria on a day trip...tell them Germany and Austria.

Posted by
875 posts

I always call or go on-line at least a few days before I fly. Also, when I tell them the dates that I will be away, I always add on a couple of days at the end just in case there's a canceled flight, volcano in Iceland, etc., that might postpone my trip home. Also: some credit cards are now saying that there's no need to call, etc., that their card will work in Europe without them needing to be notified. I'm a bit suspicious, having had one not work once even AFTER I had called, so I still notify them (Chase) every time.

Posted by
4023 posts

We usually call them about 3 days ahead of time. Sometimes they handle it all over the phone, but twice we had to go down to the bank to sign authorization forms. And even over the phone, I have to talk to 2 different departments, one for our credit cards, and one for the debit cards.

And even with all that, twice I've had to call them from Europe because there was a problem with our debit cards.

Posted by
5026 posts

I call the card service number on the back of the card, which may or may not be local. I do not literally call the local branch where I do business. They don't have "travel notification" on the menu, so I end up choosing the fraud and lost card department. My bank used to say "no earlier than 3 days before trip". But sometimes don't seem to hold to that. I also ask the human to give me a confirmed non-800 number I can use to call them from overseas, as US toll-free numbers won't work from over there.

As you can see from the various replies, you'll only find out from your bank what they need.

Posted by
2336 posts

You might find some cards automated systems will tell you you no longer need to notify them of upcoming travel. We found that with Capital One last year. You can usually do others via their automated system. For our debit cards we call our banks customer service and speak to a person as debit cards don’t have quite the protection that credit cards do.

Posted by
3809 posts

I would notify all 3 credit cards by phone, but our bank that issued our Visa says I don't need to now (they send emails whenever a transaction takes place, so if we see something wonky, we are to contact them). I think our Amex now I can just do online...or maybe it's the MC...and one I still call...usually a month ahead, but generally when I reach it on my 'to do before vacation' list.

Posted by
7686 posts

I've had the same issues with my local credit union that Jane has had so I always go in person. I tell the teller that I have had issues with my debit card being blocked in UK and that I can't allow that to happen again. The last 2 times the teller has had the person who actually flips the switch call me when that was done. I don't go in more than a week ahead. I do the credit cards on line with no problems. AMEX doesn't require notification any more.

I'm happy with my credit union otherwise so I'll not change. The other banks in the area are ones that have higher fees associated with international ATM use.

I also have this chore on my Master Packing List for a week ahead of departure.

Posted by
2814 posts

I do so within a couple of weeks, when it's necessary. Cap One doesn't want a notification, and there is no option on their web site to do so. I never notify Andrews FCU, and never have a problem. But with Bank of America, I notify them on their web site, as I do with my other regular bank. I avoid calling any bank or credit card company if at all possible, and it's usually possible.

Posted by
6412 posts

Chase and Citi let you login to your account and put in your own date range and the list of the countries where you maybe using the cards.

Posted by
6178 posts

It sounds like some credit unions are stuck in the past. I would try to talk to their higher ups and gently demand better service than to have to sign paper forms onsite (if they get some pressure from enough of their customers, they will have to change and become competitive or they'll be dropped, which they really can't afford). I'm with a credit union in CA and have been for decades, but all it takes is one 2 minute phone call with one person (and he's been there ever since I remember, I can call him by name) to set my travel plans straight with them. They're up to speed with mobile banking and Apple Pay as well.

Capital One doesn't even want to hear from me before I travel but I tell them not to count on sending me text messages I won't be responding to. I don't fully trust them to do the right thing because they are overly cautious sometimes.

Posted by
2525 posts

For the larger financial institutions I am connected to, the trend is clear....fewer travel alerts are required.

Posted by
3441 posts

The Royal, Canada's largest bank and a major in the world, hasn't required notification for at least two years. When the new policy started, the bank credited the greater security of true chip-and-PIN cards. That could be a factor if you are looking for a new banking institution in the US. As well, for security as a solo traveller I maintain accounts and cards at two separate banks and the plastic is never all in the same wallet at once.

Posted by
11569 posts

My credit union (for ATM/debit card) advises travel notification even if we're traveling within the U.S. Domestically or abroad, I do it a week or two before we leave. We do the same with credit cards, and those institutions have not told us that we don't need to do it.

Posted by
7686 posts

"It sounds like some credit unions are stuck in the past. I would try to talk to their higher ups and gently demand better service than to have to sign paper forms onsite"

Oh, mine doesn't ~require~ onsite signatures I just want to see that person face to face to make sure the job gets done, particularly after I had the debit card denied once in London. "They" say their risk/security folks say UK is a hotbed of fraud - which statement I find ridiculous and do not believe at all - but that means an extra step has to be taken to open the card up for use there. It's on the road in to town and I go by there every time I go to the grocery store so no big deal to pop in. Last time I found out one of our neighbors had fractured her hip and was in a Rehab facility so it's good for news/gossip too, hahaha!

Posted by
4023 posts

Bob, it's a locally owned, small town bank. In spite of the occasional problem, I can't imagine changing, unless the family that owns it sells out. Like Pam and Agnes, I know the names of the people there, and they know me and my family. When I walk in the door someone says something like: "Hi, Jane. Your brother was just in." Or they ask "How's your dad? We haven't seen him lately."

The two problems we had were easily fixed with a quick phone call. I know, they shouldn't have happened, but I've seen plenty of stories on this forum about problems people have with their big megabanks.

Here's to small town America - warts and all!

Posted by
1094 posts

Jane,

Understand. That is one of the reasons my wife does the super market shopping and I do the Farmers Market Shopping. At the Farmers Market the stand owners/employees know me as I have been going there for over 30 years.

Posted by
1169 posts

I have accounts in two different credit unions. Both allow me to do travel notifications via their web site or via their app.
I usually do notifications a couple of weeks ahead of time. I also take screen shots.
The on line notifications keep the humans out of the loop.

A friend of mine called her bank. Instead of marking it for travel they marked it as lost. The ATM immediately ate her card. And of course she only brought one card from one bank. I had to draw extra cash out of my account while she wrote me a check. Fortunately, my credit union app allowed remote deposits so I could deposit the check while in Ecuador.

BTW I would strongly recommend downloading the app for your financial institution. It allows you to check balances and catch problems right away.

Posted by
73 posts

Again...this group is so full of great advise! Thank you~! I have one more question...how do "quote" someone's post if I want to include their comment in my reply? I can't figure out how to do that.

Posted by
2347 posts

Again...this group is so full of great advise! Thank you~! I have one more question...how do "quote" someone's post if I want to include their comment in my reply? I can't figure out how to do that.

Like this? I highlighted your post. You have to do this before you hit Reply since you won't see all the posts after you do. Right click and Copy. Then Reply. Just above the box you'll see quotation marks. Click that, and then right click and Paste into the blue Blockquote. There it is!

Posted by
4023 posts

My internet went down while adding my reply, and evidently while Karen was posting! But here's my contribution; essentially the same as hers. Note, on my browser, the highlight is orange, not blue.

I have one more question...how do "quote" someone's post if I want to include their comment in my reply? I can't figure out how to do that.

erectoch3: Highlight the bit you want to quote, and use whatever command works with your browser to "copy." Click on "Add Reply." Above the reply box you'll see a line of icons. Click on the boldface quotation marks. You'll see a > followed by the word blockquote with the word blockquote highlighted.

Paste the bit you want to quote into the highlighted "blockquote" space. Then hit enter to start a new paragraph, and carry on. You can check out the Preview box to see what it's going to look like.

It takes a bit of practice. Or it did me, anyway.

Edited to change "cut" to "copy."

Posted by
1075 posts

One thing to be careful of is when you're booking reservations abroad while you're planning your trip. Every time I make a hotel or train reservation, I'm always very cautious during that time frame,. But, last time, I had my card flagged for "fraud alert" a day later after I'd booked an inexpensive train trip. Supposedly, the automated system didn't block my card but then someone at the CC company was doing manual reviews and decided to block my card from this so-called suspicious activity. Quite embarrassing to have my card declined at my neighborhood bar without notice.

I do wish the CC companies could have a better system for detecting truly suspicious activity versus routine transactions for travel arrangements. There's a difference between an unusual charge for $5000 from a jewelry store in Belarus made immediately after I've had dinner at a cafe in Chicago versus a hotel charge in London.

To answer your question, I notify every card when I log on to pay my bill for that month. So, that's usually about 15 days for me as I pay all credit card bills on the 15th and I tend to start most of my trips abroad around the 1st of the month. I also add some cushion to the days I'll be traveling as occasionally they'll be a charge that comes through a couple of days after you arrive back home.

Posted by
2796 posts

I take 2 credit cards and 1 debit card. None want phone notification anymore, but one allows notification on line. I usually do this 7 - 12 days prior to trip. I include the transfer cities for flights, add neighbouring countries (in case I had the urge to diverge from the initial plan) and add several days.....volcano ash and snow storms happen. Many things are prepurchased and I am not a big sender, so activity is small amounts and minimal. I have never had my card flagged and held, I am happy to say, but I think there is enough regular travel sort of purchases on my main card that these are not considered suspect.

Posted by
2814 posts

I do wish the CC companies could have a better system for detecting truly suspicious activity versus routine transactions for travel arrangements.

Capital One seems to be pretty good in that regard. While I can't always figure out why they flag certain charges, they usually send an email and give me a day to let them know whether the charge was OK. Meanwhile, they don't stop other charges from going through.

Posted by
4023 posts

I always notify our credit card companies. And now that we have a Capital One card, I will notify them as well, whether they want it or not. I appreciate Robert's point that the company will email you and give you 24 hours to respond, but we don't always have internet access when we travel. On camping trips here in the States especially, we unplug as much as possible. So I'm for informing banks, credit card companies, and anyone else with veto power over my purchases that we'll be out of town, out of the country, and/or just out of touch.

Posted by
5316 posts

Similarly, since I don't have my usual cell phone number connected in Europe for text notices, I request that the banks/ card companies send notifications via email (I make sure we only book hotels with WiFi)

Posted by
4822 posts

While I suppose it certainly doesn't hurt to try, but I have found that many cards and banks really do not want or need to know any more. I ceased contacting them several years ago, and the sky did not fall, nor has a single card been blocked.

Chip technology has helped this, if the transaction was processed with the chip present (not a magnetic swipe or manual entry of info) that is sufficient security for fraud protection for most card issuers, if you use a PIN in conjunction with the chip, then even better.

I suppose there is risk that one day I might be blocked, but I have backups for ATM and credit cards, and based on others reports, my risk appears to be about the same as those who do contact their bank and still get blocked.

Posted by
1507 posts

It was mentioned briefly in another reply, but be sure to write down or electronically store the non-toll free emergency contact number for each of your cards (usually printed on the back of the card) or ask the bank when you call for the number you can call from overseas if something goes wrong. 800- and 877- numbers will not work, and if you're needing to call because a card was stolen or eaten, you won't have the physical card to use to call the bank.

I also keep a document with the contact numbers and process for notifying each of my cards/banks, because as has been mentioned, it differs for each. Every time I travel it seems they change the process, so that list gets updated frequently.

Posted by
2814 posts

now that we have a Capital One card, I will notify them as well, whether they want it or not.

You can give it a try, but there might not be any way to do so. They used to have an on-line notification section, but they removed that. You can try calling, but I assume you'll be told that it's not necessary. You can always email them with the info, but they may not have any way to deal with it.

Posted by
2429 posts

Jane, You might not have to contact CapitalOne. Today I received an email from CapOne reminding me of my upcoming trip (as if I'd forget) and advising me that I don't have to contact them. They are all set. So they might get to you before you get to them! Wray

Posted by
4023 posts

Wow! Thanks Wray. Yes, I guess we did charge our plane tickets and several other trip related items on Capital One. It's a new card for us; we got it on the recommendation of a guy in our travel group. And lots of folk here, as well.

How far out did they "remind" you of the trip? (Yeah, as if we're not counting down the days!)

Posted by
3313 posts

Wray,

I am confused. If you didn't tell Capital One about your travel plans, how did they know you were going on a trip? Are they reading your email and seeing your plane and hotel reservation confirmations??

I don't necessarily purchase anything in advance on credit cards that would let the card company know I was going on a trip, so I would be really surprised if one of them sent me that type of message
.

.

Posted by
2336 posts

Capital One: if you charge airline tickets and/or hotels they know of your trip. The algorithm spits out the email. There is no need to notify them of upcoming travel (try and you’ll see) so travel and enjoy!

Posted by
305 posts

I use my CapitalOne credit card to pay for everything, including my flights. CapitalOne uses this information to freak me out and send me reminder emails about my upcoming trips!

"Thanks for using your Capital One® card to book your upcoming trip. We want to let you know that because of the added security that comes with your chip card, you don’t need to call us before you take a trip—even when you’re going abroad."

Posted by
73 posts

erectoch3: Highlight the bit you want to quote, and use whatever command works with your browser to "copy." Click on "Add Reply." Above the reply box you'll see a line of icons. Click on the boldface quotation marks. You'll see a > followed by the word blockquote with the word blockquote highlighted.

Paste the bit you want to quote into the highlighted "blockquote" space. Then hit enter to start a new paragraph, and carry on. You can check out the Preview box to see what it's going to look like.

Practicing...I think I did it!