Credit cards tend to be a main source of payment for travelers while outside of their country due to ease of use. If your credit card is stolen or comes up missing while you are away this can create a stressful and difficult situation to navigate.
If this happens, these are some tips to protect yourself, deal with the situation and stay safe while you’re abroad:
- First of all, try not to panic. Assess your belongings to determine everything that is missing. Contact the local police to make a report for theft or assault if necessary.
- Work quickly to contact your bank or credit card company once you have confirmed your card is not in your possession. Let them know if you have made a police report and the details of the report. Be sure to mention if you suspect the card has been stolen and confirm any recent transactions were made by you while you’re on the phone.
- Hopefully before you left for your trip, you took photos of your passport, credit cards, and identification documents and emailed them to yourself. (Do this now if you haven’t!) This will be helpful if your entire wallet was stolen or if you need to prove identity.
- If you need a new passport, locate your closest embassy.
- Many banks and credit card companies can issue a temporary card number and extend emergency credit (even if you’ve gone over your limit) if you are stranded abroad. They will need to be able to verify your identity.
- Evaluate your digital payment options or use different payment cards if available. If you have a digital wallet on your phone, a temporary card can be added so that you can use it for payments.
- If you need a place to stay for the night, find a reasonably priced and reputable hotel. Explain your situation and the payment options you have available. Use the hotel to access internet or a phone if needed.
- Continue to monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity and contact your card issuer to dispute any charges you did not complete.
Losing your credit card can really put a damper on your travels. The best steps you can take are to prepare before you leave. This should include
- Taking photos of all of your identification documents and cards
- Using multiple payment options, syncing your digital wallet
- Strategically organizing your luggage to protect sensitive information
- Do not bring an unnecessary amount of credit cards from your home country just because they are in your wallet, two cards should be all that you need
- Notify your banks before you leave for your trip that you will be spending out of the country and for how long.
Be vigilant of your surrounds and do not leave luggage or personal items unattended. It’s easy to take a break from monitoring your card activity while you are enjoying immersing yourself in a new culture.
Prepare with these tips for your next trip and you’ll feel confident to handle an unfortunate situation quickly, so that you’re able to get back to enjoying your travels.
If you are planning to go abroad and want support (travel and/or language wise), I’m here for you! I’m a travel and language coach and I would love to help you!