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Avoid Credit Card Shutoffs Abroad By Notifying Chase of Your International Travels Online

by on May 28, 2013 · 42 comments

in Chase, Credit Cards

Have you ever traveled and had your debit or credit card shut off because your issuer flagged your activity in a new geographical location as “suspicious”. This used to happen to me a lot, but I think as I’ve traveled around the world a lot credit card companies have pegged me as a frequent traveler. But still, I’ve been shut down and it’s really annoying. The thing is, I travel so much and I hate getting on the phone, so I usually just hope that my card doesn’t get shut-off and if it does, I always have several backups.

Well, I just stumbled into a nifty feature on chase.com that allows you to submit a travel alert online. While this is not the greatest invention since sliced bread, I thought I’d share it so fewer TPG readers have hiccups while traveling.

Simply log-on to Chase.com -> Customer Center
Chase International Travel Notification

And underneath Checking, Credit Card and Business credit card sections you’ll see an option for “International Travel Notification”.

First you’ll have to verify your account by getting a text or email with a code and once entered you’ll be able to select up to 10 countries that you’ll be visiting and when you’ll be gone. Note: You can only select a departure within the next 14 days, but the return can be in the far future.

Just notifying Chase of an upcoming Middle East tour!

Just notifying Chase of an upcoming Middle East tour!

Sadly you need to do this separately if you want a debit, personal and business credit card, but it beats calling and being transferred to different departments. Anyway, I thought this was a nifty feature that could save time and frustration!

I don’t know of any other issuer who allows these alerts to be submitted online, but if you know of any others, please comment below.

On the topic of international travel, make sure you only use cards with no foreign transactions fees when making purchases abroad. Those fees of up to 3% will eat you alive and negate the value of any points earned!

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • dewbert

    I got an e-mail a few weeks ago from Chase specifically saying that I no longer needed to inform them of International travel for my Sapphire Preferred card…

  • k2o

    I received a similar email that dewbert did. Shortly thereafter I received same email for each of Chases cards that I previously used abroad.

  • Marcy M

    I have done this on the Capital One website as well…

  • Jamesk

    It has been there for at least 3 years already. This is not just for Chase. You can do online notification for AMEX, Discover and Capital one (those I have used). You may do online notification for other issuers as well. The only one I have to call was Fidelity Smart Cash debit card. Do you know it is THE debit card you can use to get money from ATM in any country for free (no forex fee, no ATM charge from Fidelity and Fidelity reimburse any charge AMT owner charges)?

  • Jason

    Citibank as well

  • X

    dewbert is correct, you no longer need to do this for Chase cards.

  • miffSC

    Yep – received the same email from Chase. It is no longer necessary to notify them of international travel plans at all. According to them, they’ve got me covered with their exceptional fraud monitoring. One less step before traveling – I’m happy.

  • Adam

    TPG – this is really good advice for Chase credit cards. However, when you are dealing with Chase bank (for debit cards) I would highly suggest that you call twice and make sure. I was recently in Rome and my debit card was declined at an ATM (even though I called Chase bank and let them know I was traveling abroad, plus my Sapphire Preferred was working just fine). I eventually talked to Chase (using my cellphone at an alarmingly high roaming rate) and Chase told me there was no note on my file for foreign travel. It strikes me as odd that their credit card division is so much more on top of things than their bank (where they keep the money of their customers). I really like Chase cards so I’m not going to leave over this issue ; but it does make you wonder who is running the asylum?

  • Rich B

    Likewise received similar email – no calls required

  • AKCredit

    hey TPG,
    I was wondering what countries are you going to visit in the middle east?

  • Hans

    This does not apply if you are trying to make online purchase from the country you are going to. For example, I was going to Spain and tried to purchase museum tickets online. It would not let me, I had to call in and they unblocked the card for that country.

    It’s a pain, but honestly I rather waste the 5 min on the phone than risk being in another country with no credit card.

  • mollydog

    Just keep in mind that a review process still needs to happen afterward, either as routine or as a spot check. Recently went on a trip to Asia and added the alert exactly 30 days in advance of the last date I’m traveling for my Sapphire and United Mileage Plus cards. Problem was, Chase didn’t get around to reviewing the United request until AFTER my trip already started. A lot of good that did. Luckily, my Sapphire card was good to use so I wasn’t left stranded.

  • vortix

    I was able to do this via phone with Chase by calling the # on the back of my card. A rep picked up immediately, and did not need to transfer me to anyone else. Further, the rep was able to flag all of my cards, as well as my wife’s cards, in a single 3-minute phone call. Nice to know about the online option though….thanks!

  • vortix

    Just because you don’t “need” to notify Chase, doesn’t mean that it isn’t helpful to do it anyway.

  • Pingback: Travel Summary – 5/28/13

  • Silver Springer

    I recently received an email telling me that no notice was required for international travel, yet last week when I was in Korea luckily got an email questioning whether my purchase of cosmetics was fraud. Guess they are used to me traveling but not purchasing cosmetics overseas.

  • Alex

    Never needed to do a notification for AMEX. That is one of the reasons I use them most for international travel. Having all this “tell us in advance” process is a big disadvantage to me, because about half the time various cards have cocked it up and I am explaining to the hotel that I am not a dead-beat. I will try this once, but if these guys get hinky on me…I don’t want the card.

  • Ben Brooks

    I think this depends on the customer and the card/product. I have ATM/personal credit/business credit with Chase and need to inform them off travel for all. For Amex, they actually asked me to quit calling! So I’m glad some of you don’t need to anymore, but I still am always in a rush to airport and on my phone frantically calling each card number.

  • http://www.milestothewild.com/ Miles To The Wild

    I agree. I just feel safer making sure they know I am traveling overseas as some of the places I travel to are pretty remote and unknown to the average person. I managed to use Chase cards in West Papua last March with no problems but I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with being cut off there.

  • st

    thanks for posting this. I’ve been calling every time, and it gets annoying when you should be able to do it online.

  • st

    wrong. you do need to do it with Chase. I just talked to them this week, and unless you want to risk being cut off in the middle of trip, you better do it.

  • st

    this is correct. I purchased two Sweden train tickets online last week via Chase … the first went through — the second was blocked. I had to call to release the hold. It took 24 hours for the Swedish train company to recognize the release of the hold. I’ve had similar experiences when buying international travel arrangements online (even small transaction of less than $100). It gets worse when you are actually overseas, if you don’t tell them. Maybe Sapphire has special considerations… but other Chase cards (such as BA’s) will block you if you don’t tell them what you are doing, and where you are going.

    And that’s a good thing (fraud protection) — but I’m glad you can do some of it online now rather than calling.

  • st

    international fraud on US card holders is on the rise. It’s always safe to tell them what you are doing (state-side purchases for international travel) and where you are going. They have sophisticated algorithms to flag potential fraud — especially purchases of luxury items like travel tickets, clothing, electronics.. and in your case, cosmetics.

  • st

    I wouldn’t trust that. Chase is sending conflicting messages on this issue. Read some of the other comments and experiences on this thread that also got the same email.

  • st

    WARNING. Several posters here have stated they “got an email from Chase” stating they no longer have to inform them of international travel. This is another well-known “phishing” type email — not to lift your personal information, but to make you vulnerable from fraud protection.

    I travel a lot internationally, and talk to Chase a lot …as recently as this week — they have NEVER told me that I don’t need to notify them of my international travel… or not notify them of large purchases from international companies. They have said the polar OPPOSITE.

    I wouldn’t believe every email you get that has a Chase logo on it. Think about it: why would one of the largest banks send you that type of email?

    Call and verify.

    I think you will find a different answer from Chase. Fraud is not exclusive to elite and frequent travelers, or those with great credit– in fact, you are more likely to have it the more your card # is exposed.

  • mike

    be sure to also tell them of any country that you might have a flight lay-over, and perhaps use your card to buy refreshments, a book, etc..

    I got a fraud alert from Chase when traveling to Prague (but made a charge at London Heathrow on a 4-hour lay-over).

    Your experience may vary, but think about the layovers, too.. where you may use your card.

    It’s a real pain in the back side to try to remove fraud holds while on travel overseas.

  • Peter Lemperis

    Once I got invited to CPC (Chase Private Client) they never questioned any international purchases. It’s worth looking into to avoid the hassle.

  • trav

    good luck with that, when you get stranded.

  • Becca

    AmEx has told me that I don’t need to call them and let them know about international travel, but once they shut off my card while I was in London, even though I travel there frequently. Now I just call anyway.

  • miffSC

    Thanks st (and the others) who mentioned that it might be a phishing email. I certainly check anything that even remotely resembles such and, while it looked ‘official’, I think I will just call Chase tomorrow. I never mind calling when I leave the country. Takes one phone call and they cover all of the cards that I will be taking/using while away. Better to be safe than sorry, you’re right.

  • Mileswhore

    I love my csp card, but twice while I’ve been in Sidney I couldn’t use their non chip and sig/pin card and had to revert to a true chip and pin card. Brian, you talk to Chase higher ups, tell them to get on the ball and add that option, please. They tout this as a premium travel card and need to add this to stay ahead of the curve.

  • ASW

    This will seem like obvious advice but… Only travel with primary and backup credit cards on which you are either:
    1) the primary cardholder, or
    2) which are issued in your name only.

    If you are the secondary cardholder or authorized user on an account you will not only need to get the primary cardholder’s permission to travel with the card (even if they are your spouse and even if they are travelling with you) – you will also be limited in the amount of time you can use the card while abroad.

    From recent experience, I discovered that Citibank has a maximum travel window of 90 days for secondary cardholders. This time constraint could be a problem for those taking trips longer than 3 months in duration.

    My advice to couples travelling together; DO NOT carry a jointly held credit card as your backup.

  • Michael

    Chase has indicated you no longer need to fill out the travel notification form online; however, they still have the link for it in place. I went ahead and filled it out anyway; I received the following confirmation message from Chase:

    Thank you for notifying us about your travel plans.

    As part of our continuous efforts to improve your
    experience with your account ending in xxxx, we’ve made an
    update to your account.

    In the past, you may have notified us of your travel plans
    to ensure uninterrupted service while traveling. Because
    we value your business and your use of this card, you no
    longer need to provide us with your travel information.

    Our fraud detection systems will continue to protect and
    monitor your account, and we may still decline charges
    that appear fraudulent.

    Your account satisfaction and security is our priority.
    Should you need us while traveling, call the number on the
    back of your card anytime. Thank you for choosing Chase.

  • vortix

    Good warning. Though from other reports I’ve read online, this message is legitimate. Chase is telling customers they are not *required* to report international travel plans. Though as I’ve mentioned previously, it still doesn’t do any harm to report travel plans to Chase anyway.

  • trav

    right on.

    In my experience with Chase, they never send “policy” type emails like this directly to you — they normally send emails that tell you to log in and retrieve a message in their “secure message center”.

    It also makes no common sense — if for even their own self-interest — for a bank to tell you that you don’t need their sensible fraud protection.

    All I know is that I don’t want to be stranded because I didn’t make a 5-minute phone call.

  • trav

    just because you aren’t a dead beat cardholder doesn’t mean your card isn’t subject to fraud. Fraud hits everyone at some point — and when it does, it sucks. And AMEX has no special-secret-security privileges against it that other banks don’t.

    No card “requires” advance notice of international travel, but not doing so is playing Russian Roulette.

  • trav

    oddly, this is corporate double-speak by Chase.

    My BA Chase card was frozen last week after I purchased one train ticket in Norway, and attempted to purchase another (both less than 100 USD each) [And this isn't the first time it has happened to me.. and it has NOTHING to do with your credit score, or credit balance... I pay off all charges monthly and have stellar credit score].

    When I called Chase, they said I should always inform them of international travel purchases, and where I am going… and when.

    I imagine, because of the complex algorithms they use for fraud protection, everyone’s experience will vary. I travel internationally frequently, so I’m not sure that matters either.

    But I am wary — based on practical experience –of any general statements that claim you don’t need to inform them of your travel plans.

    Even their own statement says: “Our fraud detection systems will continue to protect and monitor your account, and we may still decline charges that appear fraudulent.” Well, that says everything.

    I for one am going to invest the time in the call. I don’t want to be stranded in a remote place unable to pay for my food or lodging with no cell phone access and language barriers, etc.

  • joeypore

    The message from Chase is, in fact legitimate. I spoke with a representative who informed me that Chase has updated their fraud-alert systems with very advanced algorithms that have shown very high accuracy rates. I don’t know if all THAT is true, but the representative did confirm with me that I didn’t need to notify them of travel using this new system.

    She went on to tell me that it actually would not even help to notify them. Even with a “travel notification” on my account, the system may still flag suspicious activity, causing my card to be declined as they attempt to contact me.

    The only option I’m aware of to actually ensure uninterrupted use at this time it to call Chase and give them a specific window of time in which to allow all charges to your card. I’ve done this before when I know I’m going to be making a lot of purchases in a short amount of time, usually with repetitious amounts, but they don’t recommend this, as it, of course, leaves you more vulnerable if something were to happen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.fulop Sean Fulop

    Bank of America tried to shut off my card when I checked in to the hotel which I had already secured previously on this card! Even the most lame security/fraud algorithm should be able to figure this out. Let’s see, the guy secured his hotel over the internet, so now we’ll figure it’s suspicious activity when he actually checks in?

  • sdasdasd

    Only good for 30 days. Just give them a call instead

  • Hudson

    Great feedback – What do you think of your bank automatically placing a travel note on your account when you book your travel plans online (ie – expedia, Priceline, etc)? Good idea?

    Hudson

  • JayD

    I wished I saw your blog at time of submission. This is exactly what happened to me in Madrid, Spain. I missed my flight to Morocco and tried to buy a new ticket. Both my Chase CC were shut down, and felt the whole World was shut down. Hopefully my debit card worked and paid cash for flight ticket. Never again…

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