Any sort of traveling involves planning—whether you're heading out on a road trip or flying off to your favorite destination—but one part of travel preparation that's often overlooked is notifying your bank or credit card company of your travel plans.
Why do your bank(s) and credit card companies need to know that you're traveling? It's a good question. Travel alerts have only become an important part of personal banking in the last decade or so, when technology made it both possible and necessary to let your bank know when you'll be out of town for a while. What do we mean by that? Let us explain:
Travel Alerts and Banking Security
Credit and debit card fraud is rampant; FICO reports a 70% rise in debit card compromises at U.S. ATMs and merchants. As card fraud became a more common problem—starting in the mid-90s when online shopping was coming into its own—banks and financial institutions started working to find better solutions for preventing fraud. Fraud affects everyone; it costs the banks and you, as the account holder, money.
Nowadays, banks are vigilant about monitoring for fraudulent charges on your debit and credit cards (if your bank isn't, you should consider finding one that is). One way that fraud can be easily identified is by location. If your card is used somewhere you don't generally make purchases, it could be blocked immediately to prevent further use.
A side-effect of this added security, however, is that failing to tell your bank that you'll be making purchases outside of your normal location can result in a card being shut down while you're trying to make purchases, pay for reservations, or access money at an ATM.
The best way to ensure that legitimate transactions do not wind up flagged by this type of security monitoring is to notify your bank of your travel plans ahead of time. You'll want to have the following information available:
- Where you will be traveling and using your card
- When you will be traveling
- When you will be returning
- Your most up-to-date phone number
Taking this step not only ensures that any legitimate transactions during your trip won't trigger a call or a blocked card, but also that any fraudulent transactions that may occur after you've left your destination are appropriately flagged. That will help you to avoid hassle, while giving you peace of mind. This is a good place for us to mention that it's also a good idea to travel with an extra emergency card, just in case.
Watching Out for Fraud
Kennebunk Savings monitors customers’ accounts to protect them from fraudulent activity. Fraud Services monitors debit cards for suspicious activity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When unusual activity occurs, cardholders will receive a call to verify a card transaction the moment it is happening.
Be aware that while you may be asked for certain identifying information, you will never be asked for your full account number or security code.
To learn more about Kennebunk Savings fraud prevention measures or to notify Kennebunk Savings about your travel plans, call the Customer Care team at 1-800-339-6573.