In the day and age of constant identity theft and hackers stealing credit card information, protecting yourself from fraud is extremely difficult – especially while traveling overseas.
New technology has allowed us to be proactive in controlling the safety of our money and identity. Make sure you bring the right credit card along on your next overseas trip.
Understanding Strip And Chip Cards
While the rest of the world has already advanced, the majority of America is still using traditional strip credit cards. These are the type of cards that are slid or swiped down vertically, followed by entering your pin and occasionally having the signature on the back checked as well as your identification. The final step of this transaction is signing a copy of the receipt for the merchant to keep.
Chip cards, or EMV cards, are a newer type of credit card that is “dipped” instead of slid. The card is inserted into the terminal in a small slot that it stays in while the machine reads your information and takes payment. This method also sometimes requires a pin (depending on your card carrier), but not a signature.
These were designed amidst a multitude of credit card scandals from major retail stores and chains where personal and valuable information was stolen by hackers. The idea is that they are safer as the magnetic strip on the back does not have to be swiped, protecting it — along with all of your information — from being copied, stored and used again later by a hacker.
A report released explained that 46 percent of Americans were exposed in some type of data breech in 2013, and went on to experience card fraud.
Each time you swipe the strip of your card, the data never changes. This makes it easy for anyone to copy your data and use it again. When your chip is inserted however, new data is created during every transaction. Creating new data each time makes it much hard and more expensive for criminals to copy your information, keeping you and your money safer.
Know Before You Go
As opposed to America, most locations in Europe only accept the chip credit cards; in fact, the majority of locations are no longer equipped or allowed to accept the sliding credit cards. If you don’t want to use the chip, it won’t matter when you travel overseas — you won’t have the choice.
Between July 2014 and June 2015 it was measured that 96.94 percent of Europe Zone 1, which contains countries such as Denmark, Germany, Ireland, France, The Netherlands, etc., carried out transactions using only cards with chips.
The best way to be prepared before your next trip across the pond is to know what type of card you already have. Does your current credit card have chip capabilities?
The new chip cards can be easily identified by the small, metallic looking box on the front side of the card. If you’re unsure if your card has a chip that can be used at these terminals, be sure to call your bank or credit card provider.
Aside from needing a chip card due to the fact that it is the only type accepted, using a chip card is much more likely to keep your data safe during your travel overseas.
Have A Backup
Always be sure to have a backup for accessing your money while traveling overseas. Bring one card with a chip in it, but plan on bringing at least two.
Keep all the cards and money you bring safe while you’re not using them. While the chip cards are much safer, there is no 100% guarantee your money cannot be stolen. Keep them out of site with a neck stash or money belt.
In addition to keeping your money hidden, safe and out of from eyesight, this neck stash comes complete with RFID blocker technology. In the case you decide or need to bring cards with strips on them, this will forbid any hackers or criminals from getting your card information while it is stored inside the neck stash.
As a backup to your credit cards, store some cash in your neck stash or money belt. This will ensure that if you find yourself with cards that aren’t working properly, you’ll still have some money to make a phone call to your bank or get to where you need to go.
Chip cards may be unfamiliar to some, but by learning how they work and who accepts them they can become a safe and useful tool while traveling abroad. Be sure to keep your cards and money safely stored away and you will enjoy the comfort of knowing your money is always safe.