Tips & Tricks

Tell Your Bank You are Traveling Abroad: Why & How

Should you tell your bank that you are traveling abroad? Why does your bank need to know anyway? There may be several but certainly three reasons.

Avoid Unnecessary Interruptions 

If you are going abroad and plan on using your credit and/or debit card, it is important to tell your bank and/or Credit Card Company. Using your card in a foreign country, whether at an ATM or cash register, may send a red flag. You may have them thinking your card has gotten into the wrong hands, which could lead them to block it. To avoid your card from being declined, call customer service before your travel. Alternatively, set up an alert via online banking.

Every institution has different steps for doing this online. For my fellow peeps who bank with Wells Fargo, here’s how:

  • At the very top of your Wells Fargo account(s) home page, click on More (this button is next to Sign Off)
  • Click Profile & Settings
  • Next, click the plus sign next to Manage Accounts Settings
  • And then click Manage Travel Plans
  • Enter your information and then click Continue. You will need to know:
    • Date you are leaving
    • Date you are returning
    • Destinations
    • Phone number (optional)
  • Next, select the card or cards you plan to use and then click Continue
  • Answer security questions and click Submit. You would need your card handy to answer the security questions:
    • Choose a card (for those who have more than one cards)
    • Enter expiration date
    • Enter security code

You are all done! Now be proud that you have taken an extra step to avoid being stranded and embarrassed in a foreign land.


Some banks help customers get foreign currency before travel. For Wells Fargo, you can order cash online, call 1-800-626-9430, or visit a branch. When you return home, you may be able to exchange any leftover foreign currency at a local branch. If you are not sure how this works at your institution, call customer service for assistance. The number is often on your debit or credit card.

For the best value for your money, I recommend doing some research before utilizing this service. Always compare the exchange rate your bank is offering versus what you would get at your destination. It is best not to exchange all your money before your trip. Exchange rates fluctuate quite often, so save some money to exchange when you get to your destination.

Increase Daily Limits 

Most times, we spend more on food, lodging, transportation, and activities when we travel. So our usual daily ATM withdrawal and purchase limits may not suffice while away. To check your limits, call the number on the back of your card. If you need an increase, you can request one before your trip.

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