How to keep your credit card safe when traveling

When you set out on a trip, the last thing you want to worry about is the security of your credit card. Whether you're exploring exotic destinations or flying for business, protecting your financial information is crucial.

The reality is that credit card fraud can happen to anyone. According to an article by Jack Caporal on The Motley Fool, this is the most common type of fraud, with more than 425,000 cases reported in 2023. The target is tourists”.

But don’t let this scare you—by taking a few precautions, you can stay a few steps ahead of thieves, scammers, and fraudsters. Here are some important credit card travel tips to ensure you have peace of mind during your adventure.

before you go

Protecting your credit card information should start before you start traveling. Here's what you should do before you leave:

  • Record important information. Write down your credit card account number and store it in a safe place separate from the card. Additionally, write down important phone numbers, including those of your financial institution. You can use it during and after normal business hours to report a lost or stolen card.
  • Notify your financial institution. Inform your bank or credit union of your travel plans, including your destination and travel dates. This prevents them from flagging your transactions as suspicious activity.
  • Remember your personal identification number (PIN). Make sure you know your four-digit PIN by heart. Avoid writing it down or sharing it with others.
  • Check card details. Before leaving, verify the expiration date on your card and any spending limits or restrictions that may apply.
  • Bring proof of identity. Be sure to have a valid photo ID with you as some merchants may require it for credit card transactions.
  • Check out the benefits of the card. Become familiar with the benefits credit cards offer, such as travel accident insurance or purchase protection.
How to keep your credit card safe when traveling
Photo: Andrey Mihaylov/

during your trip

Staying vigilant while traveling can prevent potential threats to your credit card security. Here are the main precautions to take:

Stay alert at ATMs

When withdrawing cash, look for the credit card brand logo at the ATM, such as Visa or MasterCard, and make sure there are no signs of tampering.

Check receipt

Please verify that the amount charged is correct before signing the receipt. Keep your ATM and merchant receipts to compare with your monthly statement later.

Stay alert at the gas station

Thieves may use skimming devices to target gas pumps. Please follow these precautions:

  • Pay attention to your surroundings, including lighting conditions and the condition of your pump.
  • Check that the air pump cabinet is closed and has not been changed.
  • Use a pump closer to the store as there is less likely to be a skimmer there.

Monitor your account

Check your credit card account regularly for any unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity. Report any problems to your financial institution immediately.

extra security measures

You don't have to wait until you travel to start protecting your credit card information. Whether you are at home or abroad, you can take the following measures to ensure the security of your information:

  • Use card control. Goldenwest Credit Union offers card control through its mobile app, allowing members to freeze or unblock credit card access, schedule travel notifications and conveniently report a lost or stolen card. Click here to learn more.
  • Instant issuance of visa cards. Goldenwest Credit Union also offers instant-issue Visa cards at all branches, perfect for last-minute credit card needs before you travel or to replace a lost or stolen card that may occur while traveling. Members can even choose their own PIN or update it at any time at a Goldenwest branch. Please visit their website for more information.

By implementing these credit card security measures, you can enjoy your travels with confidence knowing your financial information is protected every step of the way. Stay alert, stay safe and make the most of your trip!

Earn travel rewards with the Goldenwest Visa Rewards Credit Card

Now that you know how to keep your credit card safe while traveling, here's another great idea: apply for the Goldenwest Visa Rewards Credit Card and start earning rewards on your purchases. This includes travel discounts on air tickets, hotel stays, and car rentals, among many other benefits.

Enjoy the purchasing power and security of Visa with the competitive pricing and exceptional service provided by Goldenwest. Their member-focused rewards program offers ExtraAwards points that can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards or up to 1% cash back.

To learn more about the Goldenwest Visa Rewards Credit Card, click here.

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