March 25, 2013

 Traveling these days is much easier with the use of debit and credit cards.  The days of protecting your money by purchasing travelers checks and the hassle of cashing them along your journey fortunately is gone.  Another benefit of using your debit or credit card is that you will typically get a better foreign exchange rate which is done automatically for you.

 A tool that many people are using for travel is our new Callaway Bank prepaid card.  These work just like a debit card but they are not tied to your checking account like a traditional debit card.  Instead they are pre-funded and not tied to any other account.  One of many advantages prepaid cards present is for traveling and if by chance your prepaid card number be lost or stolen, replacing it is much less inconvenient than replacing your regular debit card.  Many people have automatic bills paid through their regular card and those won’t be affected.

 Regardless of whether your prepaid card or regular debit card number is stolen, in most instances you will not be held liable. However, that does mean that banks cover those fraud losses, and they have many systems in place to help reduce the potential for fraud.  Most banks, including The Callaway Bank, monitor transaction patterns for suspicious behavior.  If for instance you purchased groceries in your home town and 30 minutes later you were buying a computer in a Hong Kong electronics store, that would be considered suspicious.

 Banks also will put purchase restrictions on debit cards to protect the card holder and the bank.  These restrictions may be daily limits, or on geographic areas.  Often when traveling to an area that is heavy with card fraud, such as California, you may find your debit or credit card is declined when you know it shouldn’t be.  To prevent this you should contact your bank to notify them of your travel dates and destination.  They can adjust your card to allow transactions for your travel area.

 Another restriction could be for online transactions to foreign websites.  The Callaway Bank  has recently added this restriction to its debit cards for any purchases over $20.  It is common for fraudsters to immediately max out a card via a foreign website.  They purchase electronics or other goods with your card and then they sell them for cash.

 Again, the purpose for any of these restrictions is to stop any fraud before it occurs which protects you and the bank.  However by contacting your bank they can work with you in most cases to lift any restrictions for your legitimate transactions.

 Callaway Bank customers with questions regarding any of these restrictions can contact our Customer Care Team at 573-642-3322 (Fulton area) or 573-447-1771 (Columbia area).  They will be happy to answer your questions and work with you to ensure your card is protected but available for all of your travel needs.