6 Ways to Protect Your Accounts Before Traveling

Money Matters for Cinfed Members

6 Ways to Protect Your Accounts Before Traveling

Posted on July 27, 2020
Topic Categories: Consumer Help

Woman packing for trip

By Sam Danielson, BSA Compliance Officer

Americans are looking for the safest possible ways to vacation or honeymoon during the pandemic. Your original travel plans may have been disrupted, or maybe you’re making a spontaneous trip. Even though you’re likely staying in the States, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind to avoid financial hiccups along the way.

1. Use a credit card to reserve your rental car

More people are choosing road trips over air travel. If you’re renting a car to drive to or during your vacation, you’ll need to reserve your ride with a credit card — not a debit card. Many car rental companies won’t accept debit cards because your funds are likely more limited than your credit card balance. When you sign a rental agreement, you give permission for the rental company to post additional charges.

Auto rental companies that do accept debit cards place large holds on them. This can lead to confusion and overdrafts. Cinfed protects members by not allowing debit cards to be used for car rentals.

2. Alert your credit union about your travel plans

Before you leave town, make sure to let your financial institutions know. That way your out-of-area charges won’t be flagged or declined due to fraud prevention safeguards. At Cinfed, you can fill out a simple travel notification form to list which debit and credit cards you’ll be using during your journey. Note your timeframes and destinations to help make sure your purchases go through smoothly.

3. Use credit cards during your trip

Debit cards are convenient and help you stick to a budget because your purchases are deducted right from your checking account. But when you’re traveling, credit cards are a safer option. Credit cards tend to offer more protection against fraud, theft and loss. It’s a good idea to take this list of phone numbers with you in case you need to report lost or stolen cards, or fraudulent charges.

4. Find the right credit card for you

If you want to get a new credit card to take on your vacation, it’s easy to get lured in by offers that promise travel rewards, points or other perks. Often, these come with high interest rates that could cost you more than the reward is worth. Before you schedule your vacation, compare Cinfed credit cards to find the right match for you. For example, Cinfed Platinum Mastercard offers zero liability on fraudulent charges, theft protection, and travel and lifestyle services.

5. Sign up for text alerts

Protect your debit card and credit cards by signing up for text alerts. Set up your preferences for the kinds of things you want to be alerted about. If there’s a transaction that matches your alert preferences, you’ll get a real-time notification by text or email. Change your preferences at any time.

6. Be wary of public hotspots

You might want to check your Cinfed accounts while you’re traveling. But don’t assume the wireless connections at airports, restaurants, cafes, condos or hotels are secure. It’s safer to assume they’re not secure and that others could nab your information. Learn more about wireless security.

With the all the issues related to the pandemic, it’s important to be careful when you leave town. That’s especially important with your finances – and why you should take precautions to help ensure a stress-free getaway.


Cinfed Credit Union
4801 Kennedy Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45209
(513) 333-3800
Routing #242076656


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