Going on vacation? Imagine checking into a hotel only to find out your credit or debit card accounts have been frozen. There’s an easy way to avoid a blocked debit card, though: call your credit union or bank before you even leave the house. It’s also a good idea to call your credit card providers to avoid being locked out of your lines of credit when you travel.
How to Avoid a Blocked Debit Card
The only thing you should need to do to avoid having your debit card blocked while traveling is to contact your bank or credit union. While there are other reasons it could happen, most people find out their debit card is blocked when they try to make a purchase outside of their home area. This is a security feature to keep someone from stealing your card or spoofing your debit card number to make unauthorized purchases. This is also why some gas stations and other point of sale systems ask for a zip code when you make a credit purchase — it helps tie you to the card and prevent fraud.
How to Tell if Your Debit Card is Blocked
In many cases, having your credit or debit card blocked could happen the second you try to make a transaction — especially if you’re traveling internationally. That said, some banks may take time to act, and you could find yourself making a few purchases while on vacation without realizing that your card is about to be blocked. You’ll likely only know you were blocked when your card is declined.
Depending on the security measures of your bank or credit card provider, you may have a purchase declined followed by a text or phone call asking to confirm whether it was you making the purchase and then to re-run the purchase after confirming. If that all sounds like a lot, it’s because it is! Credit and debit card fraud is serious, and banks work hard to crack down on it. It’s why you should reach out to your bank, credit union, or credit card provider before you even leave the house for that next trip.