Fraud on Australian issued credit cards exceeded $400 million last year1, a figure that reveals the magnitude of the potential threat that thieves and con-artists pose.
When travelling, or moving overseas you're often in unfamiliar territory, surrounded by strangers and relatively unaware of potential dangers. As a result you may be at a higher risk of being a victim of credit fraud, which could leave your travel funds or savings vulnerable.
In the unfortunate event that your credit card is stolen, compromised or lost it's absolutely essential that you react quickly and intelligently - read on for a quick guide to doing just that.
Report the theft or loss
It's essential that you report the theft or loss of your card straight away. The longer your card is missing or compromised the more money that you may lose. Additionally if you make credit card repayments more than 14 days past the due date, this can be recorded on your credit report as a late payment. That's the last thing you want to be worrying about when your overseas.
Check your bank's website as it will most likely have a 24 hour international phone number, or even an app that you can use to report a loss and make a cancellation. If you don't notify your bank straight away, you may be in violation of their credit card terms and conditions and may not be eligible to receive a refund of any money stolen2.
Cancel or temporary hold
If you suspect that you may have misplaced your card while overseas you may want to place a temporary hold on it rather than cancelling.
That way your card and bank accounts are safe but you can still use your card by removing the temporary hold if it happens to turn up. If transactions have appeared on your account, or you suspect it may have been stolen it's safest cancel your card.
If you don't notify your bank straight away, you may be in violation their credit card terms.
Cash advance and emergency replacement
In the case of a lost or stolen card, you may not be able to get a replacement sent to you overseas. In this case it might be possible to get a cash advance issued to you by MasterCard or Visa in whichever country you're in3 - so that you're not left out in the big wide world without a dollar to your name. This advance may incur interest fees however, so it's best used as a last resort.
If you act quickly a stolen credit card may not damage your bank account or your Equifax credit report, allowing you to continue enjoying your travels without unnecessary stress.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstance before acting on it, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a finance professional such as an adviser.
1Austalian Payments Clearing Association: Fraud statistics, 2015 calendar year.
2,3Commbank: Lost and stolen or disputes.