Preparation for International Travel

Keith Young

It’s summer, which means for a large majority of our member base that it is time for a well-deserved vacation. With our close proximity to one of the busiest ports in the US, it is convenient to hop on a cruise ship and visit Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Caribbean, as well as Central and South America. It is also just a few hours on a plane to visit exciting places such as Europe, Asia, or Africa.

A vacation should be exactly that; a getaway from the day to day troubles that you have giving you a chance to relax and have some fun. The following are some very important things for you to do before you leave to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible on your trip internationally.

It is becoming increasingly popular in many countries to no longer accept debit and credit cards that do not have a chip (EMV cards). If you travel to a country where merchants typically no longer accept non-EMV cards, your transactions may be declined. Fortunately, your credit union has your plans in mind and has released chip-enabled debit and credit cards available for your use. If you have plans to leave the country, be sure to stop by or call us in advance to have a chip card created for you. Armed with a EMV card, you are one step closer to a care-free vacation.

Once you have a chip card, please also be sure to make your credit union aware of when you are planning to leave the country. For your protection, we block a majority of foreign transactions from clearing your account. Unless notified of your travel, we block foreign transactions for your protection. It is a common theme for transactions to be made internationally when card information is stolen because the fraud cases are more difficult to investigate. By calling us, we will be able to unblock the countries you will be travelling to for the time in which you are travelling to maintain your account security. Our goal is to give you peace of mind knowing that your funds are safe.

When traveling out of the country, please also carry an alternate form of payment. We do our best to be available to our members, which is why we increased our call center hours to 7am-7pm Monday through Friday. However, when traveling you may have problems contacting us via phone when you are out of the country. If your card is not working for any reason, it is better to have an alternative way to pay for things than to be without available funds for a short amount of time. If you find that you are unable to reach us via calling, be sure to visit our website to see the other options for communication that we offer to our members to be as available as possible.

Following these steps will help to make sure that your vacation is everything it should be: stress-free, care-free, and fun.

Happy Travels!