Frequent travelers: Does your bank have a problem with out-of-town purchases?

GanChan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2005
588
24
I'm preparing to take several lengthy road trips across the U.S., and I'm wondering whether I'll be sending up red flags at my bank (Chase) by making credit card purchases in various cities/states. Withdrawing big wads of cash before each trip makes me a little nervous, and I'd rather keep a running tab on one of my credit cards for easier accounting....

If you use your plastic a lot when traveling, does your bank hold up transactions, do they contact you for verification, or do they just ignore the out-of-state activity?
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,525
30,749
The Far Horizon
Contact them in advance and let them know your travel plans. That will prevent a hold being placed on your account.
That is exactly what I do when - or rather, before - I travel abroad - and some of my travels have been to some of the least stable places on the planet.

That way, the bank knows that I am in country 'x' during timespan 'y', and - most of the time - there hasn't been a problem, and when a problem did arise (I used a different ATM at one base to the one I usually used when visiting that base - because the ATM I normally used in that location was out of order) I phoned the bank from abroad and the block on my card was lifted.
 
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samiwas

macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
1,575
3,518
Atlanta, GA
I used to have more issues, but for the past several years, I have not had any issues, even when traveling internationally. If I had any questions, I would contact the bank in advance.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,060
16,569
The Misty Mountains
Here's a funny one. I recently purchased a Disney Visa for a Disney Cruise becasuse I could get a $200 credit. We did not call Visa to advise them of our Cruise and while out at sea when my wife tried to use it, they placed a hold on our account! :D
 

Volusia

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2016
359
253
Central Florida
I contact them if I will be out of state, otherwise they call to confirm and if I miss the call they will freeze the account.

Have a similar experience in Daytona during Bike Week. The vendors that show up for the event are from all over the country. If I make purchases from a vendor who is out of Georgia, then another from New Jersey they get suspicious.
 

hallux

macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
2,774
485
I don't travel often, but when I have it hasn't been a problem domestically.

When I went to Mexico City in 2014 I did make sure to let my bank and card issuers know that I'd be traveling there and ended up not having any issues using my cards, including my ATM card. Oddly enough, one of the colleagues I met up with down there had been there before and hadn't contacted his bank either time, the first time he was there he didn't have trouble but did when I was there with him. Once he called his bank his ATM card worked fine. Oh, and my bank refunded fees associated with my ATM use there since I get a few free ATM uses at ATM's not from my bank.
 

mollyc

macrumors 68020
Aug 18, 2016
2,128
9,833
Normally we have no issues, but when we went to Orlando/Universal a few years ago we had trouble and my husband had to call in because he wasn't able to use his ATM. A phone call cleared it up. We are going to Grand Cayman soon and he has already alerted AmEx.
 

millerj123

macrumors 68000
Mar 6, 2008
1,616
1,001
I've had credit cards declined due to purchases made across the country, but generally, they'll email or contact you to find out if the charges are correct.

I've seen far bigger problems for folks using Debit, but I won't do that anyway.

It never hurts to let the banking institution know what is going to happen ahead of time.
 

Maccster

macrumors newbie
Apr 6, 2017
17
7
I worked in a hotel for some time. Most people don't have a problem, but from my eperience I would say that around 3-4% are having trouble, but that could also be due to going over their limits "I don't know what's the problem, yesterday it was working".
 

JamesMike

macrumors demi-god
Nov 3, 2014
5,386
4,250
Oregon
That is exactly what I do when - or rather, before - I travel abroad - and some of my travels have been to some of the least stable places on the planet.

That way, the bank knows that I am in country 'x' during timespan 'y', and - most of the time - there hasn't been a problem, and when a problem did arise (I used a different ATM at one base to the one I usually used when visiting that base - because the ATM I normally used in that location was out of order) I phoned the bank from abroad and the block on my card was lifted.
That is what I do also.
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
36,051
3,268
Los Angeles
My bank is careful and sometimes checks with me about recent purchases. I was a little wary of telling a business that I was going to be out of town, but I decided that it made sense in the case of the bank. In additional to preventing account blocks, it might also help in the case of a financial emergency away from home, because they'll have had advance notice that I'll be in another city or country.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,525
30,749
The Far Horizon
My bank is careful and sometimes checks with me about recent purchases. I was a little wary of telling a business that I was going to be out of town, but I decided that it made sense in the case of the bank. In additional to preventing account blocks, it might also help in the case of a financial emergency away from home, because they'll have had advance notice that I'll be in another city or country.
In my case, it makes more than perfect sense, because I have worked in some of the most war-torn and dysfunctional places on the planet, and the bank - if not notified in advance - would quite rightly wonder about cash withdrawals - or purchases - in such places given that my accounts are safely at home in those western isles off the continent of Europe.

Once they have been notified in advance, there are rarely any problems; likewise, when working abroad, I usually notify the bank when I expect to be home on leave, and the countries I would expect to transit through (Istanbul has been a favourite transit where I have often over-nighted because of flight schedules) en route.
 

AlliFlowers

Contributor
Jan 1, 2011
4,433
8,430
L.A. (Lower Alabama)
I've always heard that when someone steals your information they test your cats with a few low dollar amounts. Interesting lesson here. I spent the last five days one state over visiting family, making some fairly large purchases. But on the way back, I stopped at a gas station and had trouble at the pump. When it rang up a temporary charge for a dollar, I immediately got a fraud alert.
 
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Plutonius

macrumors 604
Feb 22, 2003
7,847
5,966
New Hampshire, USA
I'm preparing to take several lengthy road trips across the U.S., and I'm wondering whether I'll be sending up red flags at my bank (Chase) by making credit card purchases in various cities/states. Withdrawing big wads of cash before each trip makes me a little nervous, and I'd rather keep a running tab on one of my credit cards for easier accounting....

If you use your plastic a lot when traveling, does your bank hold up transactions, do they contact you for verification, or do they just ignore the out-of-state activity?
I notified my bank and credit card before I went on vacation a few weeks ago. My credit card allowed me to notify them online but I physically had to go to my bank (took 5 minutes in bank). I think it's worth it to prevent them from possibly putting a hold on your card while traveling.
 
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willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,194
7,724
Here(-ish)
Only 1x with a local bank's debit card when Amazon billed my yearly prime membership out of Seattle, WA.

Capital One & Citi credit cards only flag international purchases for me.

Both of these seem acceptable to me.