Tips for Protecting Your Credit Score While Traveling
With the Equifax data breach impacting as many as 143 million consumers, it’s important to protect your credit score even when you’re traveling. The credit bureau hack shouldn’t be the only concern for your personal information and credit, so make sure you use these tips for protecting your credit score.
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Plastic can be a slippery slope on many financial levels. With lures of travel rewards, low or no fees, and other attractive offers, you can easily get into a lot of trouble. Do your research and look into the area you are traveling to to see if only certain types are cards are accepted (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, etc.). Also check out foreign transaction fees and bank locations in regards to the card you have or are applying for. Don’t go crazy applying for multiple offers and cards. Hard inquiries can damage your credit score.
Keep receipts and proof of expenditures. If some charge comes up that you didn’t make or authorize for the specific amount, you’ll be glad you have that proof of what you agreed upon. Also, keeping a record of your card numbers and protecting them will help out in case your items are lost or stolen. Leave physical copies in a secured location, safeguard digital copies, and make your passwords as strong as possible.
Signing up for Credit Karma will help you with alerts, but not give you an accurate credit score. If you’re in the market for a free credit score that isn’t a ballpark range, contact your bank. (You should be doing that anyway to let them know you’ll be traveling out of the state or country!) If you have an existing credit card, they might also be able to get you a peek at your score for free. Sites like Credit Karma will be more of alert system to let you know when something isn’t right or you go over limits.
You can also call your bank to freeze any cards or accounts you will not be using while you’re traveling. This will prevent thieves from helping themselves to your finances while you travel on your credit card. Also freeze your wifi access. Public wifi is a prime opportunity to have your account passwords stolen. Rely on your data and your phone’s network to connect.
Do you have a tip to prevent credit card hacks and protect your credit score while traveling? Share your thoughts and advice in the comment section below.