As you are booking your summer vacation and checking to see that you have everything packed, you should also make sure that your finances are safeguarded. Whether you are heading across the state or to a foreign country, you never know what credit problems you can run into. If you lose your physical card or your personal information is accessed, you could run the risk of identity theft. Once this happens, cyber criminals could drain your bank accounts and open up new lines of credit, which can result in your credit score being knocked down a few points. Here are a few tips to help protect your credit score when traveling:
Leave multiple cards at home
You may have more than one credit card for a number of reasons, such as having one for work expenses or one to help attain rewards. But if you are traveling, it is best to leave a good portion of these at home. Bringing multiple cards on your trip and using them all increases your chances of the information getting stolen.
A good bet in this situation would be to only use one – ideally the card with lowest interest rate. This can come in handy if you are in a foreign country because interest in other countries tends to be a bit higher.
Have assistance at the ready
You never know if you will run into emergencies, so it is imperative that you have your card's customer service phone number. Some may recommend that you photocopy your card's information so that you have it ready to read to your credit company's representative, but this will do more harm than good.
Check your balances
When you are on vacation, check your balances every so often. While traveling, you may end up using your credit card for most purchases, which can lead to overspending, thus increasing your credit utilization ratio. By looking at your balances, you will be able to make sure your spending conservatively and detect whether your account information was compromised.
If you see there are unfamiliar charges on your account, be sure that you contact your credit card provider right away. This way it will be able to put a freeze on your account, recoup your losses and make sure your credit score is not affected.