10 tips for secure card payments while on vacation or traveling

Summers are a time for rest and travel. Wherever you go, always choose the easy and secure way of paying for your services with your credit or debit cards, as opposed to having a wallet full of cash, or searching for an exchange office and worrying about whether you got enough change in the local currency.

Despite the security of card payments, there are still situations when carelessness can cost us nerves and money, so International Card System (CaSys) advises how to reduce the risk when paying for travel to or from foreign countries.

With the increase in the number of online transactions and card transactions, the number of card fraud attempts, theft or cloning has also increased.

A lost or stolen card is a problem you may encounter even when you are not on vacation, but it is even more stressful if such an event spoils your summer fun. If you find that you do not have your card with you, you should immediately contact your bank and block all future transactions so that the person who stole or found it cannot harm you financially.

On the back of the card, there is usually a contact number to which you can report a stolen or lost card 24/7, so write it down on a paper or store it in your phone and be prepared for such unwanted situations before they even happen.

Recommendation: If you have two different types of cards, and tied to the same account, never keep them in the same place while you are on vacation.

Cloning represents the stealing of data from your card in order to counterfeit it. There are small, hard-to-detect devices that are installed in legitimate card readers to steal information during transactions.

In order to avoid this from happening, you should always insist that the payment be made in front of you and check the card readers thoroughly for any signs of fraud, such as scratches or twists near the card slot.

This is especially important to keep in mind in places where there is a high frequency of people passing by, such as gas stations on highways, or outside ATMs in places with less supervision.

These 10 tips will help you feel relaxed on your vacation at least when it comes to securing your money:

1. Before you travel, find out about the security services that your bank offers when it comes to using credit or debit cards. This way you will know that the bank will react to any suspicious activity during your vacation.

2. Set a daily and monthly limit for spending and withdrawing funds at an ATM.

3. Before traveling, turn on the SMS notification for all transactions, so you will have control over the spending. Furthermore, it will also alert you if someone tries to use your card if you have not yet realized that it has been stolen or lost.

4. Prefer payment in the local currency of the country if there are options for choosing a converted amount in denars – the converted amount at the foreign bank terminal always has an additional commission that makes the final amount higher than the one your bank will convert when posting the transaction to your account.

5. Find out about the possibility of authentication during the transactions, i.e how your bank identifies you and confirms your identity on its platform.

6. Always be careful who you give the card to when paying and if possible, try to pay in person and use contactless payment. In case of contactless payment, you can carefully look at the POS terminal, and you won’t need to give the card to anyone.

7. Never say your PIN aloud, it is best to remember it, but if you cannot do not keep it written near the card or wallet. If you are already typing your PIN somewhere, do it encrypted – easy for you to recognize, but for others to look like a password.

8. Do not leave your card, wallet, and other valuables in your vehicle unattended, especially not in visible places. The same goes for leaving the cards in visible places in hotel rooms or apartments, on sunbeds at the beach without supervision. While on vacation it is best to keep your money, cards and documents in a safe, whenever possible.

9. Use internet banking only on computers and devices you know. Avoid computers with a public connection, such as those in cafes or at airports. When entering the internet address of your bank that starts with the mark “https”, press the small padlock icon and you should receive a message that reads Secure Connection. This means that you have access to a valid bank website. A digital certificate should verify the authenticity of the site.

10. If during your holiday you are asked to send a copy or photo of your card, PIN code or any other card information, such as number, validity date, etc., you have reason to suspect that it is a case of fraud.

Never post or send card information on social media or via email. Also, do not share the same information with third parties. By disclosing personal information, you increase the chances that your vacation will end sooner.

Vacations are a time to focus on your needs outside of work and home. The last thing you want to worry about is coping with financial stress. Although preventing fraud is not so much fun, taking a few minutes out of the day before going on vacation with no doubt will make your trip infinitely more enjoyable.