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Are we in trouble?

I read LuLu's thread about how many debit and credit cards people take. We only have the following: 2 debit cards with different numbers tied to the same CU account and one Visa with same card numbers to be used in an emergency. Should I quickly try to obtain more cards before we fly on October 1st or are we probably good to go?

Posted by
5789 posts

Check with (talk to) your debit (ATM) financial institution. Question is, if one card is compromised or a fraudulent transaction suspected, will they shut down both card? If yes, and you are counting on ATM withdrawals, then you need a backup.

If you will "need" to make Visa credit card transactions ond only have one common account, the question to ask is, are you a riverboat gambler? If fraud is detected or suspected, your card company will freeze the account.

You are only in trouble of you are counting on your cards and something goes wrong.

Posted by
961 posts

Thanks Edgar. I have talked with the CU - yesterday in fact, and if one card is reported for fraudulent activity they will only shut down that one card - not the other. When I went in yesterday they insisted on ordering chip and pin cards for me. My visa already is, but now the debit cards are coming out too. They will have the same numbers/pins that we have now although they advised to use them a couple of times before I leave and make sure there is not a problem. I could open another account somewhere in town and try to obtain more debit cards or fill out a Chase application online and hope it gets here in time - just not sure what to do. We will not have an euros to take with us as my cu doesn't supply foreign currency. I would need to open an account in Jacksonville where they do that. I had talked to Visa earlier in the day (yesterday) and when at the CU they checked and there was already a travel note on my account for the month of October. I'm just not sure if I have time to do anything with only a little over two weeks left before I fly and not sure if it worth the effort and worry.

Posted by
2927 posts

Nance, It seems you do have two debit cards so you have a backup that you can use if one fails so you will have access to money. That should take care of most of the risk. Two should be more than enough. If you are worried, I'd see if I could get another CC on a new, separate account. Otherwise, just keep the CC and debits in your money belt at all times when not in use. Probability would dictate you have no worries. Your biggest worry is probably losing a card so just be aware when you put it away after use so you do in fact put it away, not theft or financial company action. We prepare for the worst here, but the worst rarely happens. So just go and enjoy your trip. You read the few horror stories here, not all the times nothing happened. When I recently traveled solo, I had two CCs and 2 debits. I only used one credit card and didn't use the debits at all (Sweden). Other countries I would never use a CC, just a debit, so again, relax. You'll likely use only one card for the entire trip. In fact, I didn't even keep the CC in my money belt, just in my purse like I normally would, and I survived! Have a great trip! Wray

Posted by
961 posts

Thank you Wray. I feel somewhat relieved. I was about to freak when I started reading about all the cards people take. We could have them - we just don't, because this is our first big trip outside of the country other than Mexico and it never entered my mind that I might need more. All of our cards are going to stay in our money belts along with the bulk of cash. I would imagine that I will be the one to use the atm every time and hopefully my husband will never even have to pull his card out.

I thought about exchanging some currency when we change planes in Atl. but the only place seems to be Travelex with woeful rates (1 euro=.78USD) whether I order cash or get it at the airport. I hate to do that but would also hate to get off the plane in Amsterdam and not even have money to leave the airport lol. I wonder if that has ever happened to anyone?

What do you guys think? Are the odds in my favor or should I bite the bullet and let Travelex stick a big screw in my back? In other words, if it were YOU, what would you do?

Posted by
961 posts

Pndldy - I had somehow missed your reply. Thanks so much for answering. Did you take euros with you or get them at the airport when you landed?

Posted by
961 posts

I'm sorry you guys. I just got a little freaky and fixated on this. I know what you would do and it would not be to get money from the stinkin' Travelex. We'll be okay and all will work out just fine.

Posted by
21849 posts

Nance

We have depended totally on debit and credit cards for close to twenty years. In all of those travels we have never had a card fail or an account frozen. As have had that happen a couple of times in the US. A couple of times we had a card not work in an ATM. First time that happened, I nearly panicked since we were low on cash but it worked later in another ATM. Since then we have had that same thing happen several times but learned to just move on to the next ATM. It is an ATM problem not a card problem. That is one of the reason I will used an ATM just after someone else used it. If it works for them, it should work for me.

But having said that I still think it is smart to have a couple of separate debit cards and credit cards with pins so that in an extreme emergency you can get cash from the credit card. It will be expense but better than no money. You probably will be fine but, as I said earlier, I like back up and redundancy.

Posted by
961 posts

I guess it doesn't hurt to try and see if a card makes it here in time. Does everybody pretty much recommend the Capital One visa card?

Posted by
8504 posts

While we were gone for five weeks our CU had hundreds of accounts compromised, including ours. So in the middle of our trip, access to our money was shut down. It didn't matter if we had a hundred cards tied to that account; it was closed. Luckily we had a second bank account at a different institution and a second set of cards, which allowed us to withdraw cash. We also have three different credit card accounts. Lesson learned on that trip.

Posted by
2349 posts

I feel a bit responsible for your panic since I'd brought up the fraud stoppages on that other thread. Sorry. But it seems to be happening quite a bit lately. My mom was called by Amex just this week because she had 10 fraudulent online purchases in a week. I plan to add a card or two for our next trip. We went last year with exactly what you have-2 debits, 1 credit. No problems, but still, I won't cut it so close next time.

Since your credit union seems cooperative, why don't you open a separate checking account just for travel?. Put about $500-1000 of your travel money in it instead of your regular CU account. In case your first one is frozen, that will give you a cushion until you resolve the problem. I wouldn't bother opening one at a new bank. You have a good relationship with the CU so do it there.

Edit based on Bets' cross post- Yeah, well maybe a different bank would be best!

Posted by
961 posts

Thanks Bets and Karen for the advice about opening something up at a different back or CU. I will check into it first thing tomorrow. It may not make it here in time but it can't hurt to try. And Karen - blame it on LuLu! hahaha - she's not here to defend herself! Even if I end up not quite ready for this trip I will certainly be ready for the next!

Posted by
351 posts

Or, you could take some US cash in that money belt that you could go exchange in a pinch. I usually have about $100 tucked away somewhere and if you never need it - I never have, you have not incurred any exchange expense.

Posted by
1878 posts

I carry my ATM card, my Amex, and a Visa when we travel. That's in addition to my wife's ATM card and one or two credit cards. She has a proven track record of her cards not working for one reason or another, so I carry enough to get by when hers fail to work. Definitely call the institutions and let them know you'll be traveling. I also carry up to $200-300 cash with me in US currency routinely, not just when traveling. I don't know if you should try and get another card really quickly, but there is not a lot of downside to having more rather fewer cards just in case.

Posted by
2742 posts

It should really be fine! Call the cards before you go (sounds like you already did this), the biggest risk is them freezing your card if they don't know you are traveling. And double check that if one card is cancelled/frozen, the others are fine. If it were a situation where if one card is out they all are, then I would definitely suggest an additional card. As it is, it sounds like you have 3 cards. If they are all treated individually, then it's unlikely all 3 will be affected.

I like the idea of taking a few hundred dollars. Usually exchanging dollars to euros over there isn't the best, but as insurance in case of emergency it could be smart. In all likelihood, you won't need them.

In the back of my mind, I always have a backup plan of calling my sister at home and she'd wire me money. I would obviously pay her back on return, including any fees. I know she would (and can - she works in finance, and also is financially comfortable so wouldn't be hurt by temporarily lending me the money). This would be in a very unlikely scenario where all my cards are frozen, I don't have any cash, and can't arrange for the cards to be turned back on.

Posted by
961 posts

You guys are lifesavers when it comes to calming somebody down. Yes, I already notified both CU and Visa and plan to do a followup call (per Visa request) a few days before travel. I am taking USD with me so could change those in a pinch. Brother could wire money if needed but I would think with a few hundred dollars we could make it until cards got straightened out. All solutions to my overreaction. Thank you everybody. I'll get down off the roof now.

Posted by
2927 posts

Nance, One more thing… Make sure you know what your daily withdrawal limit is and keep in mind your US bank's hours don't match the European day. Keep your withdrawal under your withdrawal maximum so a different calculation in Euro value doesn't bring you over your daily limit. Sometimes a debit denial is just a miscalculation as to what day it is (still working on US yesterday hours, weekends) and if the withdrawal of Euros brings you over your daily limit. So if you get rejected, think what time and day is it in the US and/or move to another ATM. It is as simple as that, usually. But there is a tendency to initially panic, so I just wanted to remind you of this. Wray

Posted by
5149 posts

Nance, I have one more easy suggestion for you: Be sure you know your CU's phone number. We have had problems twice when our debit cards did not work. I called our bank from Europe, once from the Netherlands, once from Sicily, and in both cases they solved the problem within minutes. It turned out to be their fault both times, but they fixed it right away. We have a small-town, locally owned bank, which is great in an emergency, but I'll bet your CU would be just as helpful. The only other time we've had problems with our debit cards was in Venice, and that time it was something in the local ATM network; none of the people on our tour could get their card to work until the ATM elves worked their magic. Oh, just in case, never run all the way out of money before making an ATM withdrawal - just in case....

Posted by
24 posts

Chiming in here: don't overthink it. It sounds like you've made smart and reasonable preps for your trip, and there are great points made on this thread. I've had instances in both Canada and Europe where an airport ATM refused to dispense cash, and every time it was because it wanted a chip & pin card instead of my old-tech mag-stripe special. Problem solved by finding a brick & mortar bank ATM displaying the Visa logo, like my debit card. My bank and most of my CCs have now issued chip & pin cards so I don't anticipate having this issue again. That said, see if your CU has a relationship with a bank that can sell you euros (this can be done by ON delivery to your home!) and take some cash with you so you aren't caught in an arrival airport without cab fare or lunch money. THAT is a great stress-reducer. 😁

Posted by
9914 posts

I'm not trying to talk you back on the roof but...will your credit union allow you to authorize someone to be your spokesperson in case there needs to be contact?

What saved me last week was that when i went in the week before I left to do the travel notification there was a space on the form to allow an authorized person to be named. I am not sure if i just hadn't noticed this before or what, but i added my brother who banks at the same place. When my card didn't work the 2 times I tried it (different days and different ATMs) I emailed him and he called for me. What I meant to do was leave him a copy of my card but forgot so had to send my debit card # in an email.

In point of fact, this is a smallish credit union and he could have talked to one of the officers to get it straightened out but this more formal way worked well.

I will just add that if you have a brokerage account with a money market you can get a debit card on that as well.

I know you will have a wonderful time!!

Posted by
961 posts

All good points since my last reply - thank you everybody! Pam - not sure if the CU would allow that but I can call Monday and ask them. My brother banks at the same place and would have no problem being a spokesperson. That's a great suggestion - thank you.

Posted by
11450 posts

Personally I would not take us dollars to exchange in a pinch.. because in a pinch there may not be any where to exchange them, and no one will accept them. So what if you are caught out with no cards and money no one wants? Its easy to take 100 euros or so along..

I have been visiting Europe for many many years.. and for last 15-20 years I have taken exactly one credit card and one atm debit card. Never had an issue. When hubby comes with me he has the same with different banks.. but I travel alone and alone with my kids with just the two cards( and the extra 100-150 euros ) I take out as many euros as I can from ATM every 3-4 days and primarily use cash , saving card use for train tickets, hotels, and splurge dinners out.