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Urgent: how many cards to take?

Have an ATM card each same bank different numbers(husband and me so 2)
Credit cards same company different numbers (husband and me so 2)

Should I take an additional credit card or ATM?
Leave soon so appreciate quick replies! ;)

We are going to be in three European countries and hotels are paid for already.

Posted by
21251 posts

Our pattern is ---

2 different cards for same credit union debit card
2 same cards for bank debit card
3 different credit cards - 1 joint, 1 in my name and 1 in wife's name.

Have never had a problems with cards not working - knock on wood - but always the next time.

Posted by
16869 posts

Take all 4 of them, or one more, if you have a different account. Each can carry the same cards that you usually do, in case you get separated. You each usually need only one handy and can keep the other in deep storage in a money belt or hidden pocket. I tend to carry several - my debit card, mileage-plan Visa that I use most at home, a lower-fee Capital One card that I got for travel, and often a company card. If one of your cards is compromised in a way that they freeze the account, then an additional account can be handy. Of course, most debit cards work for purchases as well as ATM withdrawals. If you're renting a car, they will sometimes hold a significant fee on your credit card until the car is returned (but these days, that's less likely to max out the card).

Posted by
2987 posts

Since you already have a backup for both the primary ATM and credit card, you're probably fine as is. We have 2 chequing accounts, so DH usually brings a card for the 2nd account as an extra back up. But I'm not sure we'd set up a new chequing account just for travel purposes.

We do bring extra credit cards. We have our joint Visa cards (different numbers), and we each have a separate card ( mine is a Visa, his is Mastercard).

Posted by
19203 posts

The good thing about taking three credit cards is that if something happens to Card #1 (loss is more likely than theft, in my experience), you still have two cards and no reason to be nervous. If you start with just two cards and one goes astray, you have only a single card left. And it will be hard not to focus on the fact that if you lost one, you can lose another. That's a sort of nervous situation to be in.

Posted by
2518 posts

We take 2 ATM cards (same account, different card numbers so if one needs to be cancelled the other works)
Three different credit cards. Husband keeps one, I keep another, and the third stays in the hotel and is emergency only.

Posted by
1770 posts

We do pretty much as Frank. I can share from experience - it only takes one "There is a problem with your account. Please contact your bank" screen at 7 am 3000 miles from home to prompt you to ask, "What else is in my wallet?"
I also call and advise all accounts of my travels now, no matter what they say at customer service.
And we record and carry separately a list of all CC ATM contact numbers and emails. Err on the side of caution.

Posted by
3580 posts

One ATM card and 2-3 credit cards. Just be sure to notify your banks that you will be traveling and to which countries. Use the internet for this if you can. It's quick.

Posted by
3469 posts

I take the following on every European trip:

1 debit card from the bank where I set up my travel account (zero fees).
1 debit card from my main bank (high fees, use only in emergency)
1 Visa card (zero fees)
1 MasterCard (zero fees)
1 American Express (card of last resort)

Each card from a different bank in case one bank gets over ambitious and shuts down all of my access if they suspect fraud.
Also, I make a point to fill out each card's travel report online so they know I am traveling where and when. I don't really trust the cards that say you don't have to report your international travel plans. Nor do Inecessarily trust the bank branch employees to remember to fill in the travel report if I tell them in person.

Posted by
5689 posts

They really don't weigh much ... take a bunch ! Seriously, I carry ATM cards from two banks (no-fee Schwab plus my regular checking account) and credit cards (all no-foreign-transaction-fee) from several issuers (Chase Reserve for 3x points on travel and restaurants, insurance on car rentals; others for backup) Cards in my money belt.

Posted by
12400 posts

one debit card plus 2-3 credit cards, all on my person when I go out but dispersed between the wallet, hidden pocket, (sometimes), and pocket calculator.

Posted by
5657 posts

Capital One Visa no longer requires foreign travel notification.

Do I need to contact Capital One before using my card out of the

No. You do not need set a travel alert of any type before using your
card outside of the United States. Because Capital One cards now use
EMV chip technology, you can make secure transactions abroad without
notifying us in advance.

Posted by
3469 posts

"Capital One Visa no longer requires foreign travel notification"

True, but Capital One 360 still does for your debit card!

Posted by
120 posts

On a summer trip to D.C., our credit card was skimmed our first night there. (I suspect this was at a takeout place where we had dinner.). The card was blocked the next day when someone tried to buy movie tix in Annapolis. This was the only trip I hadn''t packed a second credit, was it a pain!

Posted by
409 posts


I had my Wells Fargo credit card compromised, so they emailed me and said "call us!" I did, they cancelled it, and said they were sending me another card to Ireland. I waited, it didn't come. I was supposed to go to England and needed the card to rent a car. It didn't come, I had to cancel the England trip - no car, no trip. After MANY calls (expensive) we discovered the bank mailed it to me and left "Ireland" off the envelope. Seriously. They sent me another. It didn't come. I called in a week - they had no record of my second send card request. I tried a third time. I said "it's been 5 weeks - FedEx it to me!" which they would only do if I paid - I paid! - $50. So I went with mail. Amazingly, they sent it AGAIN without a country listed on the envelope.
So I had them FedEx it - and paid myself. It didn't come. FedEx told me "they are lying to you - they did NOT FedEx you ANY package of any size that entire week."
At this point I discovered Visa (seperate from your bank) has an emergency credit card delivery within 3 days if you're in a foreign country. I was flying home at this point for my mom's funeral, for heavens sake. I needed that card!!! I had to guarantee to VISA I would be at the same hotel the next 3 days, so I went to a place I could do that near the airport - and it didn't come. I spent (no lie) over 80 minutes on the phone this one call getting this lined up. They can't explain why I didn't get it.
It was finally delivered 4 days later to my mom's funeral home in the USA.
Then it was delivered AGAIN to the funeral home after I had left the USA.

Bring more cards than you think you might need!!!! You never know what might happen!

Waterville, Ireland

Posted by
12400 posts

Your incident confirms why I don't deal with Wells Fargo. Most of the time I do carry three credit cards, as you say, as possible back-up, all far from their expiration date.

Posted by
21251 posts

.....1 American Express (card of last resort)......

I would NOT use AE as a card of last resort since it is rarely accepted anywhere. Just get another VISA or Mastercard. You want the last resort to work.

Posted by
11613 posts

I also take an Amex card to use as a last resort. Amex will also help very quickly if any card you have is lost or stolen, wiring emergency cash to you at a bank wherever you are.

Posted by
5366 posts

I already have an American Express, as many do from Delta. I take it among other cards as it is Zero FTF. I also have used it frequently in Europe, have never had a problem with a rental car company or hotel in a larger city taking it. I typically pay cash for meals, but notice that many restaurants and even shops do take AE, many more than when my business used the card a decade ago or so.

As for only concern with your initial proposal is that the duplicate cards are on the same account, while they can freeze a card, they may also choose to freeze the account, making the other card useless as well. Same as if the account "detects suspicious activity" and places a hold on both cards. I prefer debit cards from two different accounts and credit cards from 2 or 3 accounts, at least one with a PIN for cash advance. Also, spread them out physically, while a money belt/pouch is great, do not put everything in one place, I keep a credit card in a hidden place in my carry-on for example.

Posted by
2525 posts

The debit/ATM card from my bank has a separate number from the one issued to my wife. If one card is compromised, the bank will lock that card from being used while the other card remains safe and functional.

Posted by
12400 posts

" not put everything in one place." How true! Dispersal is the key here. I carry my plastic all on my person, one in the wallet, two with my pocket calculator, one in the "watch pocket" of my pants. I bring along those casual pants with a built in "watch pocket" deep enough to hold plastic, ie, credit card or a telephone card.