I'm passing along some information I discovered today when i went to my bank. First off, I'm using ATM cards and a little bit of emergency cash for my traveling. I went to my bank to split my accounts into two in case one card is lost and I discovered my bank (as do many others in the U.S.) block certain countries due to fraud. This means they block all ATM transactions with your card in any of the countries on the list. On my banks list is Malaysia and Thailand (two countries I will be spending nearly two months in). I had to write a written request with all the specific information on my time spent in these two countries in order to have them unblocked. Just a warning incase anyone else out there was unaware of this as well.
#1 mmcphee7117 has been a member since 11/5/2011. Posts: 16
Man that's good to know. I don't have that problem fortunately, but good to know it happens in case...
Also watch out for ATM fraud. Do not use ATMs that look at all in suspect locations, like a stand by the beach. I ran into a poor kid who had his account cleaned out when he went to such a machine and all his data was stolen. I met him at the police station when he was filing a complaint in Bangkok, but he was screwed. Best ATMs to use are at banks and cover your card when you insert it and cover you hand when entering the PIN.
Thanks, that is also good advice. I appreciate it.
#3 mmcphee7117 has been a member since 11/5/2011. Posts: 16
I just go and tell my bank before I leave. They (usually) do something. But paying for flight tickets etc online with a credit card has become a total pain! Last year my bloody mastercard suddenly required me to provide a FRENCH cellphone number to send an SMS to with a one time code for every transaction. Air Asia now give you like 8 minutes or something to complete a booking. Try and coordinate with someone in France standing by to SMS you the code in time for the transaction to go through....it's absolutely impossible!
Apparently evisa is easier.
TC cheques can be extremely hard to cash these days in many countries. I simply draft a letter to my bank telling them about my debit card usage abroad, and include a rough itinerary of my travel plans. The only time I've had a problem with my credit card abroad was when it was my own fault - you need to know the exchange rate before you head to the ATM (I asked for an unusual amount of cash, and my cr card bank thought it was fraud).
@ daawgon: Not true in SE Asia, still very common and very simple. Simply the best and cheapest way to handle your money in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. Believe me, I am travelling there since 35 years. Also save and easy to change. ATM and prepaid cards are expensive and you loose lots of money. If you want to help them to steal your money, then you can use them.
Well, when I first came to China I found cashing travelers checks to be a lot more time consuming than using an ATM. Just waiting in line at the bank, not to mention all the paperwork.
I've always just sent my bank an emailing saying the dates I'd be in each country. Funny thing though, I recently did this for Indonesia and the bank said they would not put a 'unblock flag' or whatever they called it on the card for Indonesia. Apparently the US Department of State sees too much credit card freud from there and so advices banks to avoid it.