Are you prepared for your vacation?
You pack your clothes, your toothbrush, line up a dog sitter, but do you have your bank prepared before you go on a vacation?

1. Tell your bank when and where you plan to visit.
Be sure to provide them specific destinations when possible, such as Disney World, Orland FL or the specific country or region. Include your method of travel (flying, driving, etc.). As a security measure, your card may be declined if the purchase is in an area you normally do not travel to or the purchase is out of your normal purchase pattern. This provides the fraud analysts more information and may prevent inconvenient declines/blocks on your card when traveling.
2. Confirm your contact information with your bank.
It is important to keep up-to-date contact information on file with your bank (phone, email, address, etc.). If your card was to be declined, you may be contacted via text, phone call, or email to verify the card activity and prevent your card from being declined or blocked from further use.

3. Bring additional forms of payment.
It is recommended that you have an alternate form of payment available such as cash, credit card, or a prepaid debit card when traveling. If your card is declined and you cannot reach the financial institution after business hours, you will have a way to complete your purchase.
Why is this important? You may think you are set for your trip by only bringing plastic, but your card(s) may not always work. If you accidently type your debit card’s PIN incorrectly or your credit card is compromised, your cards may be turned off. Make sure you always have a backup.

4. Know your daily limits for your debit card’s transactions and ATM withdrawals.
Be familiar with your daily transaction limits for ATM and Point-of-Sale purchases. If you plan to use your card for multiple purchases or one large purchase within a 24-hour period you may need to increase your limit to be able to complete your purchases.

5. Use a credit card to book your hotel.
If you are reserving a hotel or rental car, it is recommended that you use a credit card due to the holds associated with these large transactions. These merchants place holds that may not be immediately released or may be released when the transaction is finalized days later. Depending on the amount of the hold that is placed, this may impact your daily transaction limit.
Why is this important? Depending on your hotel or length of stay, this could be a large amount, which may cause you to reach your daily spending limit. This means your debit card may not work until the next day. If you followed #3 and have additional forms of payment, you would be good to go! Also, if you followed #4 and knew your debit card’s daily limits for ATM withdrawals and Point of Sale Transactions, you may have a high enough limit to cover your hotel costs.

6. Know the fees associated with travel.
When traveling internationally, you may be assessed a currency conversion fee and/or a cross border fee. These are transaction fees that a merchant may assess to convert your funds to their currency. These fees are typically 1-3% of the total purchase. There are also fees for utilizing international ATMs. It is important to be mindful of these fees as they will also impact your transaction limit.
Why is this important? Fees can add up quickly, especially if you are not prepared. You may have budgeted all of your spending, but when you review your next statement, fees could be much higher than anticipated. Knowing the fees ahead of time may help determine which payment methods are best to use on your trip.

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