5 Must-Have Tips for Traveling with a Debit Card

Do you rely on a debit card to access your money while traveling? If so, there are some special considerations to take that can ensure that you have access to your accounts — no matter where you’re headed.

To help your vacation to go as smoothly as possible, we put together a list of five must-have tips for using your debit card while you travel.

1. Find a Network ATM

Plan to hit an ATM for cash while on your trip? Try to locate an in-network machine in order to avoid being hit with ATM fees.

Connexus members have access to more than 67,000 surcharge-free1 ATMs across the country. We partner with the CO-OPSM and MoneyPass® networks, so if you find an ATM with either of those stickers on it, you won’t be assessed a surcharge. You can find the one nearest you on our ATM Locators page.

2. Keep Your Financial Institution Informed

If your debit card is suddenly used somewhere out of the ordinary, some banks and credit unions might flag the transaction as fraudulent. To avoid this, you should alert your financial institution to your travel plans ahead of time.

Connexus members traveling outside of the U.S. can use Debit Card Management in Digital Banking to set up a Travel Notice. That way, your Connexus Debit Card will be active and ready to use, no matter where you’re traveling. To ensure seamless card service, share your travel itinerary in just a few simple steps. See how to set up a Travel Notice with Connexus Digital Banking.

3. Track Your Available Balances

This might seem like an obvious tip, but it’s one that can get overlooked in the excitement of travel.

If you’re going to use your debit card, make sure you have enough money in your account. Connexus members can track your balances with Digital Banking, on the Connexus app, or by calling 800.845.5025. Using our Snapshot feature lets you check your balance on your phone without even logging in to your account.

4. Have a Plan if Your Card is Declined or Compromised

We hope you don’t find yourself in this situation, but you’ll want to be prepared for it just in case — especially when traveling. Carrying a backup credit card or keeping small amounts of cash with you is smart.

Before you leave for vacation, you should ensure that Connexus has your phone number on file. If a transaction is declined, you’ll receive an automated call that attempts to verify the validity of the transaction and that you are in possession of your card. The faster you can be reached, the sooner the issue can be resolved.

If your card is lost or stolen, call 800.845.5025. We recommend always having a secondary form of payment (cash, check, credit card) with you at all times.

5. Be Aware of Blocked Merchants

If your transaction does get declined, it doesn’t always mean your card has been compromised. It could be due to the location or merchant where you are trying to use your card. Some cities and merchants across the country have been identified as high-fraud risks — our card issuer automatically blocks these transactions for your protection.

For more financial traveling advice, check out 6 Surefire Ways to Save on Vacation Costs.

If you’re planning to book a trip soon using a credit card, consider paying for it with a Personal Loan instead. Our low rates can mean big savings on interest — and a penny saved is a penny you can put towards the next big trip.