FAQs: Traveling with your Debit Card
Here are some tips to keep you safe around the corner, or around the world.
I AM planning a trip. What can I do to protect myself against card fraud?
If we suspect fraudulent transactions on your card, we must act quickly. If we cannot contact you, we may temporarily stop access to your card to protect your account.
If your card stops working while you’re traveling, call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-531-1401. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM and on Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM. You may also contact our Lost/Stolen Card Hotline at 1-800-531-1401 where representatives are available 24/7.
What are CREDIT card skimmers?
HOW DO CREDIT CARD SKIMMERS WORK?
A credit card skimming device reads the magnetic stripe on your credit or debit card when you slide it into a card reader at an ATM, gas pump, or another point of sale. The skimmer then stores the card number, expiration date, and cardholder's name. These stripes even appear on chip-enabled cards.
WHAT DOES A CREDIT CARD SKIMMER LOOK LIKE?
Credit card skimmers can be tough to spot, as they often look like regular card readers. But being vigilant can help you identify these fraudulent readers designed to steal your information.
You may have found a skimmer if the card reader looks different from others in the same location – for example, a reader that is bigger at one gas pump than those at nearby pumps. Readers with card skimmers attached may not feel as secure. If you're able to wiggle the reader, it could have a skimmer attached.
Aside from ATMs and gas pumps, card skimming devices pop up at ticket kiosks, parking meters and other spots where you can swipe a credit or debit card. A retail or restaurant employee equipped with a handheld skimmer might even steal your card information when your card is out of your sight.
ARE CHIP CREDIT CARDS SAFE FROM CREDIT CARD SKIMMING?
Chip credit cards are designed to be safer than magnetic stripe cards, encrypting payment information so it's not so easy to steal. They can offer another layer of security, but they aren't iron-clad – especially if you have transactions where you have to use the magnetic stripe instead of the chip. Most new credit cards issued in the United States are chip credit cards.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SKIMMING?
At a gas pump, if you use a debit card, process your payment as a credit card without using the PIN. If you must use the PIN, cover your hand when typing the number.
Look for a broken security seal. Many gas stations now place security seals over the cabinet panel.
Look for unusual features in the card reader. It should look like other readers at the station.
Pay inside. This may help avoid skimmers altogether.