Centra Blog

Increasing your Financial IQ

Tips for Using Your Cards While Traveling

aerial view of a variety of items relating to travleing

If you plan on traveling and want some tips on debit and credit card usage, continue on! You can save time, money, and headaches with these tips for reducing transaction hassles and fees when you’re using credit and debit cards while traveling.1. Let your card issuer know when and where you will be traveling. You can update your travel plans in minutes right from the CardControl app! Simply open the app and choose ‘Travel Plan.’ Follow the steps on-screen to verify your identity and add your travel dates and destinations. You can have up to two travel plans at a time, so feel free to plan ahead!

You can also call our Contact Center to ask our Team Members to mark your Centra credit cards for travel. If you don’t use CardControl, ask them to mark your debit card as well. Make sure to include:
– your card number
– your dates of travel (when you are leaving and will be returning)
– your destination

2. To save money while traveling, try to limit the use of cards that charge added fees outside of the United States. We’ll automatically waive foreign ATM fees charged by Centra. Other financial institutions may still charge you for using their ATM. It’s a good idea to research fees for any other cards you plan to bring with you.

3. Be prepared in case of theft with several payment options. Having different options can help make sure you aren’t stranded with no way to pay. Also, if your card is declined due to suspected fraud, you’ll be happy you have another option to pay with.

If it’s suspected that fraud is occurring on your Centra card, Fraud Prevention specialists will contact you.

  • Credit cardholders will receive a call from Falcon.  If needed, credit cardholders can reach Falcon at 800-337-3392.
  • Debit cardholders will receive a text from Enfact if a cell phone number is on your account.  If a cell phone number is not listed on your account, or if the text is not replied to, Enfact will place a phone call to the primary Member on the account.  If needed, debit cardholders can reach Enfact at 866-750-9107.

 

4. If you do use local currency, look into the conversion rates from dollars. If you use your credit card, be sure conduct the transactions in local currency. Dynamic currency conversion (DCC) lets you have a transaction conducted in U.S. dollars rather than the local currency, so you have a better idea what it’s costing you. This may seem convenient, but it’s expensive. The exchange rates for DCC are typically much worse than what your card issuer will use when it converts the purchase for your statement. So when offered the chance to “see your total in dollars,” take a pass.

ATMs can also attempt to charge you for DCC—some more obviously than others. The charge may be termed as “locking in” or “guaranteeing” a conversion rate, which sounds safe and like a smart move. Instead, you should choose whatever option allows you to proceed without the conversion. Always select to be charged in the local currency, no matter how the question is phrased.