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thought I had everything settled

I thought I was way ahead , everything settled but when talking to my credit card company about a pin she said I did not need one if I was not getting advance of cash. I told her I was going to Italy " did you let us know " YES I replied 2 weeks ago . Nothing on file that I was going overseas.. So glad to make one more phone call that brought up the subject or I would be hurting wondering why it did not work. You think your ahead of the game , wham fools you. She said , well sometimes it is not on a higher notice . I didn't know they had a scale of notices for the same order for you account.

Posted by
1516 posts

Hi Gail, lucky that you had to contact the bank again before you left on your trip, it's much easier to sort things out now. I hate having to follow-up and double-check everything, but that's the way it goes. I hope you have a great time in Italy!

Posted by
20632 posts

Is there a question here??? I always have a pin number of the credit card. The pin number with a credit card is my absolute last option for cash if my two debit cards fail. So I would get it. I have found that it is necessary to talk directly to the fraud department with your travel plans. However, that is now changing with many credit card companies not requiring notice about travel plans.

Posted by
503 posts

I have two debit cards that I take with me when going out of the country. Each one is with a different bank. Each time I travel, I call the banks, explain that I want to alert them to my international travel plans, get connecting to whatever department they say I need to notify. I do so, head out for my trip and one of the banks always ends up cancelling my card after one or two withdrawals. I come back, call to complain and am told that notifications don't always work!!! Unfortunately, this is the local bank that is most convenient for my to use at home.

Posted by
956 posts

I have been left hanging in Italy, Mexico and Turkey. I called each cc company prior to each trip! Each time I had to call the bank at my expense only to find out nothing was on file about my trips. If I had done my job like this, people would have died and I would be out of work. It is most frustrating to have to check, double check, and having to take 2 or more credit cards, just incase! I use major banks but they fail more times than not. Last year I walked into the bank and sat at a bankers desk to make sure I would have no problems. Well, that didn't work. Now I don't need to notify my cc companies regarding my travel?? I don't trust that at all!
We leave for Europe in June for a month. My fingers are crossed!

Posted by
1620 posts

I also call my banks, alert them, make a charge at the departing and arriving airport using that CC to prove that I was traveling, and then my attempted purchase at my destination is denied. Go figure! Thank goodness someone was at home in the States to make a phone call.

Posted by
4506 posts

After reading all the replies here, I'm wondering what banks you're all dealing with?
Perhaps I've been lucky, because I've not encountered this problem with my credit cards or debit cards.

My banks are Wells Fargo, Chase & Citibank.

Enjoy your trip Gail!

Posted by
3320 posts

Fortunately we are on a first name basis with the branch managers at the banks that issue our credit cards and ATM (Debit) cards. In addition to going through the usual hoops to put travel alerts on our cards, we also sit down with the branch managers and make them aware of our travel plans. If a card gets blocked and the usual "unblocking" steps don't work, we just call the branch manager who knows us and a code word and they fix the problem. Unfortunately, we live in a computerized or semi computerized, just go through the motions era of "customer service". It is so nice to be able to deal with real people on a personal basis instead of just relying on computers or nameless voices at a phone bank. Try it! You might like it.

Posted by
1068 posts

I would guess you have the option to do this, but I notify the banks/credit card companies on line. They ask where I'll be and when. I then get e-mail notifications that I added them on my account (just in case they were fraudulently added.) I use cards from my local credit union and Citibank.

Posted by
975 posts

This happened to me with Union Bank. Placed the travel alerts on both mine and hubbys debit cards in person at the branch, because don't you know the online alert process was not working. My debit card card would not work after 10 days, once we left Italy and went to France, but hubbys worked fine. I did discover a voice mail a few days later asking me to call to confirm my debit card use, I did not feel like taking 30 min to do this as hubbys card was working and my Capital One credit cards were all ok., plus I had another back up ATM card with Bank of America I could use.

This is why you always have a plan B, get mad all you want at the banks in the end your the one without access to cash.

Another scare: I deposited my Travel money into my checking about 3 days before we left and it posted as a withdrawal not a deposit...WHAT??? I was frantic because now I was out double the money, went to the branch and had it resolved the day before we left...with all the other stuff I had to do this almost sent me into a panic attack. They had miscoded my deposit slip as a withdrawal...ooops.

Posted by
1516 posts

Hi Gail, one more thing... it's my understanding that the ATMs in Europe will only allow you to withdraw money from your checking account (not savings). This is not normally the way I "do business" here at home so it's something I need to do before I leave.

Posted by
351 posts

This problem always happens with my Barclay Bank credit card but never my Citibank credit card or my ATM card (from a large local bank)

I notify all the companies and it consistently works with Citibank and my ATM card. Barclay always locks my card after the first successful international purchase and I have to call the fraud department to get my card unlocked. It's very irritating.

Posted by
20632 posts

...

..Thank goodness someone was at home in the States to make a phone
call. ......

That reminded me. That someone at home has got to be on the account or they will hit a stone wall. We learned the hard way when our son spent a semester in Madrid and his university's credit union frozen his debit card was frozen at the first attempt. All the funds for his semester abroad program are frozen in his account. During the first two weeks of the program he is in an orientation program with limited access to a phone. He finally gets a phone call to us and we think, as parents, we can handle this. Not so, when you hit the federal/banking requirements for security and confidentiality of accounts. It took an enormous amount of pleading, all kinds of personal information about him, with the credit union manager to finally get her to unblock the account. Since that day we always make certain that our sons are authorized users on the account. That way, one phone to one of them will solve the problem.

Posted by
3379 posts

Wow, something I never worried about. I've called our bank for our ATM card, and they've said I didn't need to call but they would put the note on file. Never had an issue. We bank with Key Bank, so maybe the smaller banks are better. We rarely use a credit card in Europe since I usually pay for our hotels ahead of time, and we use our ATM cash for all meals.

Posted by
3313 posts

Gail,

Go ahead and get your PIN for the credit card IF your card has a chip on it even if you never do a cash advance. Many places you would use your credit card will ask for a PIN if you have a chip card. Sometimes you can enter random digits and the terminal will accept it, but I found that if I have the real PIN for the chip credit card it gets accepted in more places without issues. And you will NOT get charged for a cash advance if you are making a purchase with your card. The only time you would get charged for a cash advance is if you get cash out of an ATM or at a bank teller.

Posted by
11613 posts

What Mark said. You can also use a credit card with a PIN for purchases at kiosks.

Posted by
491 posts

Well, this certainly sounds screwy.

So let me get this straight:

  1. Even though I have my own bank account for travel, and I plan to use the debit card from that account while in London, I should add my husband to the account in case there's a problem.

  2. I should bring two debit cards.

  3. I should bring a credit card and be ready to use the PIN on it while making a transaction, even though I've never been asked that in the U.S., ever.

Am I correct? Thanks!

Posted by
3320 posts

SandraL,

  1. Yes, even though you have your own bank account for travel, and plan to use the debit card from that account, you should add your husband to the account in case there's a problem. Doing so will not do any harm, and it gives you the luxury of having someone at home who can handle things with the bank if there is a problem. And he can probably do it a lot quicker and easier here than you can from there.

  2. Having two debit cards (connected to different banks) is ideal. Why? Satellite and / or computer communications between Europe and the U.S. don't always work as they should. Once in Paris my card would not work but spouse's (on another bank) did work. Mine worked fine later. The "official" explanation from the bank (valid or not) upon our return was "... the satellite didn't communicate...".

  3. Yes, bring a credit card (preferably two) and be ready to use the PIN on it while making a transaction. We've had to use PINs in Europe on occasion even thought the same card used at a different place only needed a signature. It also doesn't hurt to have some cash in reserve to pay for dinner if the card doesn't work.

One of the things we have learned over many years and many trips to Europe is "Murphy's Law" -- if it can go wrong it probably will at some point. I really don't mean to rain on your parade or be a black cloud. But there is an old saying we believe in that goes "...it's ok to hope for the best -- just be prepared for the worst...".

Posted by
20632 posts

Just a further comment on Sandral's No 2 - It is not uncommon for a credit/debit card company to do maintenance on their system around 1 to 3 am in the US. (Obviously not every day) They figure no one or very few are using the card at that time so the disruption is min. However, 1 to 3 am in the US is mid morning in Europe just when you may be wanting to use your card. So it always a good idea to have a couple of cards. And don't panic if your card doesn't work. Sometimes it doesn't work in that ATM. Just try the next ATM that you see. If that one doesn't work, then you can panic.

We carry two debit cards and test both within the first 24 hours or so to make sure both work. What good is a back up card if it doesn't work? Having said that, we have never had to go to the back up card in 20 some years of travel.

Posted by
491 posts

Thank you very much! I appreciate your answering all my questions.

Posted by
365 posts

Gail:

I also called my bank for both the credit card and ATM. I let them know exactly where I was going and when. Both cards got holds put on them. The charges were accepted, but on the credit card I had to call the company and verify I made each purchase. When I asked why the notice did not work the customer service person said they hold suspicious charges. So sometimes when you do everything right they still hold up the charges.

Posted by
1509 posts

Several years ago I was going to Spain. Spent well over an hour on hold with Bank Of America before they could put the alert on my account. Get to Spain, card doesn't work. Call them "Opps we apparently didn't do the notation"

Now "opps I forgot to give you any money" I packed up and moved to USAA. Never had any additional problems!

Posted by
20632 posts

In all of our travels we have never had any problems with our cards both credit and debit. With credit card fraud being so rampant, it doesn't surprise me that banks are overly cautious even when we try to notify them properly. Although it is pain to deal with it, I think I would rather have them over cautious than too loose. With all of our cards I have set up a notification system where any charge without the card been presented, any foreign transaction, and any charge over $500, I receive an immediate e-mail notification of the charge. That has worked very well for us.

Posted by
7686 posts

In regard to Sandra's question #1. When I do a travel notification with my credit union the form asks if there is anyone you want to designate to handle problems. Fortunately last Fall when I traveled I designated my brother. He is not on my checking account but he was able to intervene for me when the CU forgot to put through my travel notification and I could not get money out of an ATM in London. You might check with your bank to see if this is a possibility with them. BTW, I go in and do this in person. I thought with a discussion with a teller I would not have problems. Next time I will do the paperwork and then ask to speak to a manager plus check again a couple of days before I go.

Fortunately, and regarding your question #2, I did have a back up debit card and was able to access that one until he could call the CU.

Posted by
4023 posts

We've had problems twice with debit cards not working, even though we had alerted our small-town bank. Luckily, in both cases, a phone call to the bank solved the problem. In one case, the bank had changed its debit card security system the same day I had called them about going to Europe, thereby putting holds on all cards.

Like Frank, we have learned to try the debit card as soon as possible after we get to Europe so we can remedy any problems before we're hurting for cash. Our credit cards are issued by the same bank, and we've never had any problem. And we do have PINs, even though we don't have chip cards yet.

It does help to know the staff at your bank. The last time we had trouble, I was able to call my bank, ask for the person I had dealt with, and just say "Hi, Chrystal, it's Jane. My card doesn't work." And she fixed it within minutes.

Posted by
2814 posts

I've never had problems with CC or debit cards not working in France. Way back, there was never any need to notify banks. Now, my 2 debit card banks (including BOA) let you set an alert on-line. Much better than talking to a person. And for CC I use my Andrews FCU card, and have never given notice and never had a denial. Presumably they're used to cardholders using their cards in foreign countries due to their clientele.