My Credit Cards Where Are They?

Credit Cards

Credit Cards (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

So you have decided to purchase a trip online. You look everywhere and pull everything in your house or apartment or flat apart. My credit cards! Where are they?

Welcome the land of dematerialization. You have experienced this I am sure. You put them in a safe place. So safe in fact that you cannot find where they are. All you have are the bills that prove  you have paid for them.

What should you do? If you are absolutely certain they are not stolen then there is a simple way to receive new cards. It is called the “replacement card.” What is this actually?

It is exactly what it sounds like. Replacement cards. They will be sent out overnight if you need them right away or in 5 business days. Why replace the card? More and more people link up their credit cards to pay for various services. Some do this for the airline miles or bonus awards. Here in good old New Jersey you can link up you EZPASS account to a credit card. You can do this with almost any utility service. I am sure there are those of you who do this.

Once you call a credit card lost or stolen the account is frozen. Any services that you have linked up to that card will be stopped until you notify that service with your new credit card number. Simple enough.  However, you may forget. I know I am projecting a bit but, we are human and we do forget. That is how you misplaced your card in the first place.

That is why ordering a replacement card is much easier than ordering a new one. Nothing has to change and you just will end up with two credit cards with the same account number when you find the lost one.

Now if you are one of the rare human beings who shred the paper statements as soon as you pay them. You know who you are. You are the person who does not go online to pay for anything. There are those of you out there. I know plenty of people who still are concerned about how safe online payments are. I want you to remember this. PUT YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBERS and CODE somewhere safe. Along with the CUSTOMER SERVICE NUMBER. If you do misplace your card in the house or somewhere safe but cannot find it- having these numbers makes it much easier to have a replacement card sent to your home.

Now what about international cards that are lost or stolen. Again, email yourself the account number and the international phone number on the back of the card. You will find that they are quite helpful. When looking at international travel make sure you contact your credit card company in advance and notify them of the countries and approximate dates of travel.

There is nothing like going into a restaurant and being refused service for a card that will not process. It is for your safety. I do this approximately 10 days before travel. This way I am guaranteed access to my cards if I need them. Please do the same thing with your bank cards if they are ATM cards. They will be flagged if you do not notify your bank.

Now about going foreign exchange. When traveling to Europe it is not a bad idea to find the cheapest place in your area to do this. Today the Euro exchange to the US Dollar was $1.21 = 1E (Euro). So one would think that going with $1210 would  equal E1000. The answer would be a big fat no. Banks and other agencies add their exchange rate and fees. Today we paid $1344 for E1000. Banks and other organizations charge usually $0.12 to $0.15 more per the usual exchange rate.

This is why using your credit card on trips without the foreign transaction fee at times can be a benefit. You will be paying the exchange rate for the day plus their small fee with out the usual $3 or $4 fee by using the ATM outside of the country. You can weigh out the plus and minus of using the credit card vs the ATM yourself. Having cash whether its Euros, British Sterling, Loonies, or US Dollars is my preference. Which reminds to to remind you always have at least $500 cash available US Currency in case of emergency. Remember you will be coming home to the US someday and you may need that money if you lose your passport, credit cards or foreign currency while traveling.

Now where to safely put that money. Well here goes. I have books that I travel with and place the large bills in between the pages far enough apart that it does not expand the book. I had two travel books from AAA and placed approximately E750 dispersed through out the pages. No one thought to look through the pages. I felt very safe. Did I mention that I placed one book with approximately E300 in my suitcase by mistake and even with customs going through my bags nothing was moved. Guess the book was too boring.

I do not recommend you leaving it there on your trip but it is a good cover to say the least. I have other tricks of the trade but that is for another time. So travel well and enjoy the ride…Denise

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