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Money Abroad

Banks keep an eye on your ATM behavior.  If they notice spending patterns that are unusual, they will contact you to confirm that the activity on the card is yours.  Banks will, also, flag your account if the activity is international.  Read our article to find out what you need to do to keep you bank from invalidating you card when it is you spending your money on your vacation abroad.


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Travel Advice - ATM and credit card notification

If you plan to travel internationally, consider calling your ATM and credit card  providers' security branches before you depart to inform them that you will be using your card out of the country. 

  • When ATM  and credit card security personnel notice an unusual pattern of activity related to your card, they may call or email you, indicating there has been "suspicious activity" in your account.   If you do not respond in a certain period of time (usually days) they may invalidate your card, suspecting fraud.
  • You can avoid this situation (and the possibility of not being able to access your cash) by notifying your ATM and credit card providers of your general plans in advance of the trip.


If you are concerned with the security of telling someone you will be away from home, indicate that you might be called away on business over the next month and that activity in countries A, B, and C should not be cause for concern.

We have provided a note on this topic because of the importance that ATM and credit cards have for travelers.  In addition, we had a personal experience with the issue.  

  • While traveling in Morocco several years ago, I checked my voice mail  and listened to a message from my bank, indicating that there was unusual, international activity on my ATM.   The message continued that unless the Bank heard from me in 24 hours, they would temporarily invalidate the card.
    • I called them from Casablanca and let them know that I was using my card in Northern Africa and would be doing so in Asia in the weeks to come.
    • I was glad that they were looking out for me, but would have been seriously irritated if the bank had invalidated my card.
    • Since then, I always notify my credit card and ATM issuers to avoid losing the use of my cards.


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