Traveling for the holidays? Get your cards ready!

The holiday season is right around the corner and Educators Credit Union wants to make sure your debit and credit cards are safe and sound while you travel. Whether it’s a holiday vacation or visiting out-of-town family, you need to have your cards noted.

Here are some tips to help you ensure your vacation spending goes smoothly.

Call Educators before you travel!

Be sure to add “Call Educators” to your to-do list before you travel. When you call, chat or visit a branch, tell the representative you want to add a travel note to your account.

Be sure to share where you’re going, if you’re driving or flying, how long you’re staying, and when you’ll return. That way when charges come through that are outside of your regular spending pattern and area, it is less likely to be flagged as fraud. You live and work in southeastern Wisconsin, and you’re driving to Colorado for the holidays to visit family. When you add travel notes, Educators’ credit card processor knows that charges at restaurants, gas stations and a hotel along the way are not fraud, just you seeing the sights!

This is important, even if you use Ctrl, Educators’ card-control app. Our fraud monitoring system checks purchases before they even get to your Ctrl settings, so travel notes are still needed.

Be prepared: Know the numbers

It’s important to understand the fraud monitoring process of your debit and credit card issuer.

The Steps:

  • When fraud is suspected, you will receive an automatic email from Educators, and you can reply via email with “fraud” or “no fraud.”
  • One minute after the email, you will receive a text message from shortcode 32874, which also has the “fraud” or “no fraud” option.
  • If there is no response to the email or text message, you’ll receive an automated phone call to deny or confirm fraud.

It’s a good idea to enter the text code and phone number into your cell phone contacts so know it is a legitimate fraud prevention text message or call should it pop up on your phone while traveling.

As a side note: it’s always important that you keep your contact information up to date with us. If you’re traveling, it’s even more important, especially your cell phone number or email address. That information can be updated in Online Banking or by calling/messaging our Member Response Center at 262.886.5900.

If your card is declined and you don’t receive a fraud notice, you can call us to find out the cause of the denial. Use the numbers in the paragraph above to call and speak to an Educators Member Response Agent. The Member Response Center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. If it’s outside of those hours, you can call 888.526.0404 for assistance with declined transactions on Educators credit or debit cards.

If your card is declined

It happened. Your card got declined. Here are some things to check that might resolve the issue quickly, and before you have to call Educators.

If you use Ctrl there are several settings that may be causing the denial.

  1. Is the card turned off? If you usually keep your credit card turned off, it may have slipped your mind to turn it back on before using it on vacation or for a specific purchase.
  2. Is there a location setting on? If you have “My Location” on for that card, and your phone is unable to detect or find your location, turn the “My Location” setting off and try the card again.
  3. Are you overseas? Another location setting in Ctrl is “Block International.” If it’s on and you’re trying to use your card in Canada, Mexico or another country that is not the US, it will be declined.

It is also important (so important, we’re repeating it for you skimmers) to let us know you’ll be traveling. Notes can be added to your account so purchases that are outside your normal spending habits and locations (e.g., shopping and a hotel stay in another state) aren’t flagged as fraud. As we said above, fraud-monitoring blocks kick in before the charge gets to your Ctrl setting, so travel notes are still very important.

Happy holidays and safe travels!