Lost Credit Card - What Happens When Travelling

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Published: January 14, 2006

Lost your credit card whilst travelling? A lost credit card is a very good way to mess up your holiday.

I lost my credit card once at the start of what was going to be a proposed 6 month holiday. That trip turned out to be a bit of a roller coaster and only lasted about 2.5 months, but losing my credit card was the first big dip... actually, that was missing my first flight. Sleep... such an important thing ;)

When I first realised I had lost my credit card, I panicked...

After I had calmed down a bit, I went to the place where I had last used my credit card (and presumably lost it). Unfortunately for me, the credit card was not there.

Next I had to make the big decision to cancel my card.

My credit card was a Visa, so I rang up their service and they happily cancelled the credit card for me. They offered to send me an emergency Visa card, which I happily accepted.

Note, you should try organise where you will be staying, or try have a number that they can contact you on. If you don't, you should be given a reference number and you can call back and provide them with the information when you have it.

Visa also offered to send me some cash out. I still had a fair amount of cash on me, so I did not need that service, but it was nice to know it was there.

I ended up buying a SIM card for my mobile so they could contact me. I also found a place to stay and rang back so they knew where to send the card.

At this point, I was back in London to see a band play. It was quite awkward when Visa rang me during the gig. Luckily, the DJ was playing, so it was only very loud and not deafening. By screaming into my hands free set and using the provided earplugs, I was able to carry out a conversation.

The problem was that they needed to know the address of where I was staying so that they could send me my new emergency Visa card. They also need to confirm someone is willing to accept responsibility for the package at the address you want it delivered. Due to some glitches in my accommodations computer system, they did not actually have my reservation, even though I had checked in that day. However, after a few phone calls, it was finally sorted, thankfully before we reached the deafening stage.

Luckily for me, my new emergency card should be arriving by the next day.

One thing that caught me out though is that an emergency Visa card is not linked to your bank account. This means you don't have a PIN number and CANNOT use the emergency Visa card at an ATM. I was told by the nice lady that I would of to take my passport to a bank that allowed me to sign for cash on my Visa card.

I flew to Germany the following day and was most annoyed when I went to every bank in Friedrichshafen and nobody would let me sign for cash on my lovely new shiny emergency Visa card. In fact, a multilevel supermarket would not even let me use my emergency Visa card after I went to all the trouble of collecting the items I wanted. What was totally frustrating me was that I had the most money I had ever had after my house sale went through, yet I could not get my hands on any cash!

I could not use my emergency Visa card to get cash in several places in Germany and Austria and was constantly having to shop and stay in places that accepted Visa cards... which generally were not were not the cheapest places. I finally got some money at a nice bank in Lech... and boy was I happy when I did.

So, emergency Visa cards are not your best bet for getting your cash. I also tried to ring my local bank to see what the deal was with getting a proper replacement card. The problem was that it was going to take 8 (? something like that) business days for it to reach me. Given that my travel plans were very spontaneous and never involved spending 8 business days anywhere, I never ended up getting a replacement until I came home. This was one of the reasons that I came home early.

On a side note, I did find out on my way home that you can also get cash out on your Visa card at places like Travelex. This would of helped out nicely if I had realised this when no banks in Amsterdam would give me any money.

Next trip I tried to get another ATM card just linked to my bank account, but they said this would not work on overseas ATMs. I ended up getting a spare credit card.

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