A Financial Travel Checklist
You’ve placed your liquids, gels and aerosols into a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. You’ve packed your swimsuit and are ready to go on that long awaited vacation, but have you called your bank? Taking a few minutes to give your bank a call before you take off on vacation could save you a serious headache while traveling. Follow these easy travel preparation tips to ensure your ATM/Debit card has maximum spending potential on vacation:
Call Your Bank & Share Your Travel Plans
Contact your bank any time you plan to travel outside your normal spending area in advance. This allows them to note your travel arrangements and avoid denying transactions in the event you’re traveling in areas that are considered high-fraud areas, or outside your normal spending areas. Make sure they have your current contact information so they can get in touch if need be.
Set up Online Access to your Bank Accounts
If you haven’t already, sign up for online banking so you can check your balance, make payments and transfer funds; as well as to review your account activity to ensure your transactions have posted correctly. If you’re a Webster bank customer, you can sign up here for online banking access, and here for mobile banking. As convenient as they may be, use caution when accessing your bank accounts from a public computer while traveling; you never know if a virus or malware has been installed on a public machine.
Always Take More Than One Form of Payment with You
In addition to your ATM/Debit card, bring along cash, checks and one or two credit cards in case your ATM/Debit card is stolen, damaged, or doesn’t work.
Memorize Your Debit Card Personal Identification Number (PIN)
Memorizing your PIN will help you easily obtain cash from ATMs while traveling. Also, use a local ATM or make a PIN based purchase to verify your PIN is correct before leaving on your trip. CAUTION: For security reasons, never write your PIN on your debit card.
Compile a List of Telephone Contact Numbers
Find the numbers for your bank’s customer service and fraud departments and carry them with you in case you lose your ATM/Debit card. Here they are for our customers:
Webster Bank Customer Care Center: 1-800-325-2424
Visa Fraud Protection: 1-866-416-5690
Verify Your Card Expiration Dates and Spending Limits
If your ATM/debit card is expired, merchants may not accept it. Also, each of our customer’s ATM/debit cards has a daily spending limit as a fraud prevention measure. If you go over this limit, your purchases will be declined. Several declined transactions could cause your ATM/Debit card to be blocked. Daily limits can be temporarily raised for vacations, special purposes, etc, so call our customer care center to temporarily raise your spending limit.
Make Sure to Respond if Our Fraud Department Calls You
Please respond to any messages received from our fraud detection services by calling 1-866-416-5690 as soon as possible to minimize any restrictions to your card access. We monitor your ATM/Debit card activity in effort to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions from hitting your checking account, and transactions taking place outside your normal geographic area could prompt us to call you or even block your card until we can verify those transactions.
Perform Cash Withdrawals at a Financial Institution ATM if Possible
Avoid using any free standing ATM’s (an example is an ATM on a street corner near shops). Free standing ATMs do not have cameras and as much security as ATM’s that are located on the property of a financial institution.
Examine Your Accounts for Fraudulent Charges
Carefully examine your bank statements and continue to do so for several months after traveling. If you notice any unusual or unauthorized charges, please inform your bank immediately.
International Travelers Take Note
- In some countries (particularly in Europe), merchants may be more familiar with accepting EMV chip cards (cards with an embedded chip) than magnetic-stripe cards. (Visa requires that magnetic-stripe cards be accepted everywhere Visa is accepted.)
- In countries that have adopted chip technology, international visitors may continue to use their non-chip enabled cards; most chip terminals will recognize and process a magnetic-stripe card.
- If you are using an unattended rail ticket kiosk, or an automated fuel dispenser that does not recognize non-chip cards, just present the card to an attendant or agent (e.g., at a ticket window).
- Your Webster Bank debit card should be accepted anywhere in the world that accepts Visa.
Vacation is one of the pleasures in life, but having your card declined can put a wrench in your plans. Make sure to follow these tips before going on your next trip, and let us know any financial questions you have about traveling in the comments below. Bon voyage!