Why (and How) You Should Notify Your Bank Before Traveling

Tips By Timothy Nelson February 12, 2021

You’ve packed your suitcase, planned your itinerary, and checked into your flight. Surely you’ve done everything you need to prepare for your vacation, right?

There’s one small but crucial step that people often forget before traveling abroad: notifying the bank.


Notify your bank before using a credit or debit card when traveling

Banks do whatever they can to protect you from identity theft. But if you’re not careful, your bank’s eagerness could backfire when you travel. If they spot transactions in an unfamiliar location, your bank may assume your card is being used fraudulently and shut it off.

When you let your bank know that you’re going away, they add a record to your account and share it with their fraud detection system. This prevents your “abnormal” spending patterns from triggering a block on your card.


How to notify your bank of your travel plans

Every bank works a little differently. If you already use online banking, there’s likely an online travel notice where you can enter your destination and the length of your trip. If you’ve got multiple countries on your itinerary, you can specify that as well.

We’ve compiled a list of the online travel notification pages and resources for the top ten banks to make it easy for you:

Chase Online Travel Notify Link
Bank of America Online Travel Notify Link
Wells Fargo Online Travel Notify Link
Citi Online Travel Notify Link
TD Bank Online Travel Notify Link
Capital One Online Travel Notify Link
HSBC Online Travel Notify Link
PNC Online Travel Notify Link
Santander Online Travel Notify Link
US Bank Online Travel Notify Link

If you don’t have online banking, call your bank to set up a travel alert on your account. You can also speak with a representative face-to-face in a branch.


Other financial precautions to keep in mind when you travel

Notifying your bank about your travel plans is not the only financial precaution you should take. You should always have copies of your important documents and information, like your bank’s 24-hour telephone and your account numbers. If possible, bring more than one credit or debit card with you and stash one in a safe space outside your wallet if your wallet is lost or stolen.

As with most things related to traveling and security, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Check out our latest tips on travel or sending and securing your money.