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Credit card info

I've been to Europe many times. I've always been a bit cavalier about my credit/debit cards. This time I thought I'd be smart and make a copy of them in case they were stolen. But then..where to hide the copy. Not in my purse with the credit cards. Not in my suitcase. What if it got stolen? I feel like that commercial with the little dog who can't figure out where to bury his bone. Worry worry worry. If anyone has a suggestion, I'd love to hear it. And you can send me a private message if you want to keep it secret.

Posted by
351 posts

I keep pictures of them on my phone, and on my onedrive account.

Posted by
16769 posts

Since I have online banking access for all of my cards, I no longer bother with photocopies. Some of the physical cards will be kept securely under my clothes, with usually only one more readily available to use for the day.

Posted by
2292 posts

If you have online access and have your password memorized there is no reason to risk a copy. The online portal will provide the customer service phone number to cancel the card should it be lost. The customer service rep will ask you security questions to verify your identity - the card is not needed (after all, in this scenario the card was stolen so by definition you don't have it). I've had to do this twice, because I'm forgetful and lost the cards.

If you don't have online access, just make a note of the phone for each card. Capital One 1-800-xyz then call if needed. They will be able to find you in the system to cancel your card.

Posted by
321 posts

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll just jot down the phone numbers.

Posted by
5504 posts

RE: Capital One 1-800-xyz then call if needed.

I don't think that toll-free "800" numbers work calling North America from Europe. Look for the "call collect" number on your card.

Posted by
16841 posts

I, too, have had to deal with lost and stolen cards while overseas. I had no need for anything other than a contact phone number that would work from Europe and the last 4 digits of the card number, and I'm pretty sure they didn't need any part of the card number. They always ask you to verify some personal information at the beginning of the call. I see no need to take the risk of traveling with a record of the full credit card number.

Posted by
3320 posts

You can type a word document (using the smallest font) and list everything you need on one piece of paper that can be stashed in the money belt. You can even "encode" it in a simple way you will remember but no one else will know.

Posted by
169 posts

We type out a list of the credit card numbers, and the tel. number to call if lost/stolen. We also photocopy our passports, drivers licenses, and credit cards and put all of this information into a document. We email a copy of this document to ourselves and save a copy to a usb drive that I keep on my keychain (password protected). We actually needed to use this information when one of us was pickpocket-ed a few years ago. It made a really bad situation into an inconvenience. Good luck.

Posted by
30970 posts


My credit card information is stored in an encrypted data file in my iPhone, including the phone numbers to call for lost / stolen cards. An iPod Touch could also be used. I also have a small file with the numbers encrypted using a simply cypher, which I keep in my money belt. Each card has a different "key" to unlock the cypher. You could also have the details on a USB memory stick as a password protected file, and store that in your money belt.

There are lots of creative ways to pack along sensitive information during travels.

Posted by
225 posts

Can you explain how you encrypt a document and what kind of cypher do you use? (not exact, of course)

Posted by
30970 posts


This is a example of encrypting a credit card number using a simple substitution cypher.....

Credit Card No. to be encrypted- 1 5 6 1 8 0 9 7 4 6 2 0

Code -


0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Key - European Travel

Using the above method with each letter corresponding to a number, the fictional credit card number would be (arranged in five letter groups, similar to Enigma code which uses four letter groups):

ITOIU RZUSO IRGML (the last three letters are null characters to complete the five letter group and mean nothing).

Some notes.....

  • Only you know what words the key refers to. Only write the Key next to the encrypted numbers.
  • If you have several cards, use a different key and words for each one. The important thing in choosing words is not to have any repetitions in the ten letters.

If a more secure code is desired, one could always use one of the Enigma simulators, but in that case each number has to be spelled out as a word. The important thing with that is that you'd have to know the Rotor and Plugboard (if used) settings to begin with. For example, starting with a four rotor model with the Rotors set to "Rick", the first four numbers of the fictional credit card above would be:


Hopefully all of this makes some sense. I'm sure there would be lots more ideas online, but I haven't looked. The first method I described at the top is only a backup method, as all my credit card and other important details are stored in E-Wallet in my iPhone, which uses 256-bit AES encryption.

Posted by
20631 posts

That is roughly the same system I use. There is a slight flaw in Ken approach that could be used to break the code. I don't encode the first two sets of numbers because they are common to many other credit cards. For example all VISA card start with 4, Mastercard 5, American Express 3, Discover 6, etc. Second, cards from the same card issuer will often have the same first four digits are the same. Only the last eight digits are unique to your cards so those are the only ones in encode. Now do I think a theft that gets a copy of my encoded credit card numbers is going to take the time to break the code - probably not. But just in case .......