Most credit card companies offer their customers online access. A cardholder can sometimes use this tool to announce an upcoming vacation. What is this option for? Should you use it? We have the explanations for credit card users.

Automatic anti-fraud system

Many customers do not know that every time the card is used (purchase, withdrawal of cash, etc.) the transaction is automatically checked for fraudulent purposes before it takes place. This system makes it possible to prevent attempts at fraud, for example if the card has been stolen.

For example, if you use your card here in Switzerland in the morning and “strange” transactions are made from a country in Asia with the card in the afternoon, it is quite likely that these transactions will be blocked automatically for security reasons.

False positive data

Each company has its own fraud detection system. It is possible that a normal transaction is wrongly classified as fraud (so-called “false positive case”). For example, if you fly on vacation and use your card in a foreign country, the system can classify this as an attempt to defraud and block the card.

Fortunately, such false positive cases are statistically rare. However, when they arrive, they are often particularly unfavorable, especially if the credit card is used as the main form of payment abroad and is then suddenly blocked.

Prevent the card from being blocked

Passports and some credit cards have RFID chips that allow information to be read wirelessly. An industry has sprung up to make wallets and other products that block hackers from “skimming” the data

Announcing your vacation to your provider limits the likelihood that your card will be blocked incorrectly. Depending on the provider, the announcement can be made online, in writing or by telephone. It is important to state the date of departure and return as well as the country visited.

Do I have to use this option?

In the case of a “normal” trip and “normal” use of the card, it is not really necessary to announce the trip to the provider. However, if you are traveling through several countries within a relatively short time, it may make sense to use this service so that your main form of payment is not blocked.

Card incorrectly blocked – what to do?

In this case, the first response is to contact your credit card provider immediately to request that the card be unlocked. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the card can be unlocked immediately … We therefore recommend that you always carry a second credit card with you, which can be used as a means of payment in an emergency.

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