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No more travel notifications for credit cards?

I am finding that major banks no longer want a travel notification for foreign travel. I already knew that AmEx doesn’t, but our banks always did before. One less thing to do in travel preparation.

Posted by
4289 posts

My 2 travel cards don’t. In fact, one will email and tell me when I have a trip coming up - I guess just in case I forget. Lol!

Posted by
6788 posts

Depends on the bank. Amex says "our cards are now ALWAYS 'world ready' ". For Chase and Citi cards, you can set a "travel notification" online. I'm sure there are other banks (local banks and credit unions) that still want a heads-up.

Posted by
4289 posts

David, neither my Chase nor Citi want a notification. Citi just emailed me today about “my upcoming trip” to say “We gotcha covered”. Ha!

Posted by
1677 posts

Mine says they don't, but then when I was booking stuff for my last trip, they started blocking payments. So, I insisted they make a note on my file. Whether they actually did or not, I don't know, but not wanting notifications seems to be a pretty dumb policy that doesn't work well.

Posted by
6619 posts

I agree with BB -- they're choosing convenience over security, for them and for us. I have credit and debit cards with Chase, Citi, and Bank of America, none of which wanted to know about my trip last fall. I called one of them (I forget which) and was assured that no transactions would be blocked, and that proved to be true. But I'd still rather take the trouble to notify them of international travel, and I wish they'd take more trouble to protect my funds and their own.

Posted by
42 posts

Our credit union definitely wants to be notified and we had purchases blocked when we forgot to do it. Don't know if it's safer but does make me feel better.

Posted by
330 posts

I don’t like this system. I needed to use my backup card (Chase) on a recent trip. Naturally, the algorithm didn’t expect the charge because I don’t usually use this card when traveling. My charge was rejected. When I called the representative said the problem couldn’t be on their end, it would go through if I had the credit line, and she couldn’t make a note in my file because they don’t do travel notices anymore. The charge was rejected twice more before I gave up using the card.

I guess this really means I should start using that card abroad to train it, but I’d rather keep all charges on a single card.

Posted by
4289 posts

For several years, I traveled with my old Cap One card. I still take it but if I want to either use it or even just open my app, it wants to text me an approval code, which I won’t receive. I have found a goofy way around that finally, but it’s easier to not have to deal with it.,

Posted by
561 posts

Travelmom. How do you get around the texted security code? I am currently living in the NL. I have a Dutch phone and phone number, which is unacceptable to my US credit cards. They will not email the security code.

Posted by
1152 posts

International charges are sometimes blocked with my main credit card. I get a text with a link to a web page that lets me approve or decline the charge. I think I get an email with the same link, too. A bit of a pain because I have to tell the merchant to "try again" after I've approved the charge. But the takeaway to me is I have to have a phone that gets texts and connects to the Internet when traveling. How do all those who steadfastly travel phone-free deal with this need?

Posted by
991 posts

My bank and Capital One card haven’t wanted notice for a few years. So far on trips in Germany, France, and England I haven’t had trouble using them without giving notice. I did feel better about it when they wanted this notice.

Posted by
7648 posts

This is not new, I ceased notifying credit cards some 5-7 years ago, mainly because when I called, they would say it is not necessary, and even if I did notify them, they would still send me an alert on the rare occasion.

Basically, in the methods they use to determine fraud, the notifications do little to no good. Either they give false security, or target valid charges. Part of the problem is the internet and card systems, just because you are in a spot using your card, the transaction may be processed someplace else, even at a merchant.

Yes, some local banks and credit unions still want notification, but the larger credit card issuers have pretty much given up on it, or allow you to enter a note online, or may politely take the call, mainly for your own comfort, not their information.

There is maybe a fault to this system, the card companies do want to be able to contact you with some immediacy, either by phone, text, or email. This means having technology, a phone or wifi device, to be able to receive the message. For the most part this need not be a problem, I travel with my enabled phone with no extravagant measures, but there are hiccups in technology (like the need to put in a temporary phone number, or a foreign one); certainly many, including on here, resist traveling with "technology" or have access to it; American phone services resistant to include worldwide coverage in their plans for a low price, and the list could go on.

But overall, immediate notification and confirmation is the best method of fraud detection. Europe does this through higher security transactions (Chip and Pin, and two factor authentication for online and remote transactions). The US is just far behind in this area.

Posted by
4599 posts

How do all those who steadfastly travel phone-free deal with this need?

Well I’m WIFI only during travel. Using CapOne there are usually a few charges before travel, like timed tickets, train tickets, or airport shuttle, where I can “train” the card for that country. Sometimes I need to accept the charge (while still at home) or sometimes it’s such a small charge it goes through.

Adding that a huge advantage of AirBnb and Booking.com is that these charges always go through, even when the charges appear during travel.

Also noting that there appear to be some instances where the charge goes through pending later approval via WIFI.

Posted by
11350 posts

We have traveled widely with our Capital One cards without any problems. Our last international trip was in January 2020 to Egypt and Jordan, worked fine.

Posted by
2142 posts

It is nice to not have to notify Amex, but we still need to for USAA. They make it very easy online though, so it is no big deal.

Posted by
4231 posts

I get a notification via my banking app whenever a large charge (500+) is made to my credit card or a large withdrawal is made from one of my accounts. I wonder if I'll get a warning once I make a charge overseas? I understand that the algorithm the banks use are supposed to know if I've made travel purchases, so maybe that's why it's no longer necessary to advise the banks.

Posted by
882 posts

What about notification for debit cards (for ATM cash withdrawals)?

I find that I rarely use a CC when abroad, except when I can use Apple Pay on my phone. I otherwise still use cash whenever possible. Hotels, airbnb, travel - most of that, if not all of it, is prepaid. What are people using their CCs for? My use of CC, when abroad, is minimal.

Posted by
4599 posts

What are people using their CCs for?

Everything, I haven’t touched local currency for 4 years/countries. My emergency fund is in US dollars, no ATM use any more. Probably not possible everywhere. Debit card just used for unmanned situations where PIN required.

I believe the CapOne debit card still allows travel notification.

Posted by
8586 posts

Does anyone think this is not an improvement? I prefer notifying my bank so that I have made a positive action to prevent a problem. Ive been hacked before, and the only way I would have found out in a timely way was the bank checking on out of country purchases. I'm not aware of any new techniques banks are using to flag suspicious purchases.

Posted by
4289 posts

JoJo, I use my Cap One 360 debit card for ATM cash withdrawal always and haven’t had a problem.

I will also say I have never had a transaction declined on any of my cards, or a request for a code, when I am using it physically- only when using it for an online purchase.

I also use my cc for most things when traveling but how much and for what amounts varies by country.

Edit:* stan, three years ago I had two of my cards used fraudulently three times, within a 2-3 month window. All three times were caught immediately by the card issuer and I was immediately both texted and emailed. Two of the times were not huge amounts ($100 cash?) and were in locations I could easily be (although not my city). Once was a couple of large online purchases within the States. I make international purchases very regularly - sometimes even for other people - and have never had a problem with those occasions. Just occasionally a purchase is flagged and I have to give permission, then try again. That’s a hassle but all of this makes me feel much better about their process.

Posted by
7050 posts

All my credit cards have travel notifications through their websites (B of A, Capital One, credit union card), so I will keep on doing it because I don't want any issues abroad

Posted by
4599 posts

Agnes: Capital One hasn’t allowed foreign travel notifications for the credit card I have (Quicksilver) in 4 or 5 years. When it started I had a call into them and they said it wasn’t possible or necessary. I think at the beginning of this policy I insisted on some kind of a note placed in my account, but since stopped.

Posted by
97 posts

Is anyone still needing a PIN with their credit card overseas? We're going on the BOE 14 day in May and I'm working on my to-do list.

Posted by
7050 posts

You're right, Tom. My bad. I mixed it up with another card. I have the Quicksilver card as well.

Posted by
4981 posts

There is an "illness" known as "Left Hand / Right Hand Syndrome" that seems to prevail in many large financial institutions these days. Basically the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. In addition, the "rules" are constantly changing and are different for different entities. As a result, we always notify our credit card folks about our travel plans. They may say they don't need it, but if the "rules" change and they are not notified, then one may have a problem. Yes, letting them know may be inconvienet, but how much time and trouble does it really take to be sure things are in order?

Posted by
16684 posts

The two credit cards I am talking about have removed the travel notification area from their website entirely. The only way to do it would be by secure message, but that is slow and cumbersome these days.

Posted by
6815 posts

It depends. Most of my credit cards no longer require travel notifications although Navy Federal Credit Union does still ask that you notify them when you’re leaving the country.

Posted by
1597 posts

"What are people using their CCs for? My use of CC, when abroad, is minimal."

Just the opposite. I use my CC for almost everything except very low cost items. Most of my lodging is not prepaid. I use the CC at restaurants, museums, castles, etc. If I use $20 a day (for 2 of us) in cash that is a lot.

Posted by
7648 posts

I guess for credit card use, over the years my CC use vs cash has completely flipped. Back then, yeah cash was king, sometimes I had problems getting enough to get by due to my credit unions daily limits. Now, I get a couple hundred euro at the beginning of my trip, and that lasts me a good week or two, if not the entire trip. Of course it varies a bit by country, but it has certainly changed, and the pandemic has only increased the use of cards. In Italy last Fall, tap to pay was the preferred method, even for a bottle of water. Heck, I even think the beggars on the street are taking cards now.

Posted by
6815 posts

With regards to cash vs. credit, I generally use credit all the time. I never carry cash in the states. When I travel overseas, I try to use credit but it's easier in some countries than others. It was super easy to use credit in the Netherlands - in fact, some restaurants and cafes were cash-free (this was in 2018, pre-COVID) and would only accept credit cards.

But in my upcoming trip to Germany, I have read about many places (usually smaller places in smaller cities) who want cash and not credit, so I will probably stock up a bit at the ATM once I get there. Luckily I still have around €50-60 in cash from my last trip so that will come in handy.

Posted by
100 posts

Another "mostly credit card" user over here...

We pay for almost everything (including utilities, groceries, etc.) using rewards cards, being sure to pay them off every month. As a result, a good chunk of our upcoming trip will be paid for with statement credit we've racked up. While we're on our trip, we'll continue to charge everything, so we'll be earning rewards while we're there as well.

I do appreciate the fact that when I charge everything, I have a detailed log of my expenses at the ready, without the need to keep track on my own.

I'm Canadian. I phoned Mastercard before our trip to Paris in 2018. No need to call us, not required anymore they said. We land at CDG and take a cab to our apartment which I pay with MC. Before we've even climbed the stairs I get an email from Mastercard. "Call us right away... suspected fraud... your card just used in Paris!". Well duh. So before our next trip later that year, I called!

Posted by
4981 posts

A perfect example of the "Left Hand / Right Hand Syndrome" referred to previously.