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The last time I travelled to Florida (about 2 years ago) I had 2 different credit cards from Wells Fargo put on hold within literally 1/2 hour of arriving due to the bank assuming that the legitimate transactions I was making were actually fraudulant. Apparently Florida is a hotbed of fraudulent activities.

I have since learned that you can nominate travel plans on the Wells Fargo website and hopefully secure yourself against over-zealous putting the card on hold.

However I do not see the equivalent thing for American Express.

So:

  1. Am I at risk from over-zealous putting the card on hold if I don't inform Wells Fargo of my travel plans?
  2. Does this also apply to Amex? (given that there is nothing apparent to allow me to do so)
  • And it was my daughter's experience with BoA, and the 2 hours it took to get it un-held, that prompted my use of alerts. As annoying as it might be, it's banks getting more agressive to protect us, and them, from fraud. – Giorgio Sep 25 '16 at 22:33
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    Note that informing the bank of your travel plans is no guarantee. I've had trips where I've informed them and they cut me off anyway, and trips where I didn't and nothing happened. Informing them, especially if you can do it on their website quickly and easily, is still worthwhile though. I personally do it for international trips, but not domestic ones. – Zach Lipton Sep 25 '16 at 23:01
  • @ZachLipton it depends entirely on where you are traveling to, and the type of transaction posted (source: I work in a bank). – Burhan Khalid Sep 26 '16 at 12:20
  • NEWS. you simply phone the card company first, and tell them about your upcoming travel. HOWEVER - I recently did this with a card (from a US bank) that has a chip. Interestingly they now - they said anyway - no longer require you to alert them of travel, due to the exciting security advantages of chip. So it is possible that the days of having to "tell the bank you'll be traveling" are over. so, when I tried to inform them by phone in this case (just to be safe, and there's nothing better to do while waiting at a flight gate), the lady explained she literally ... – Fattie Sep 26 '16 at 14:03
  • .. now has nowhere to even enter that information. So, it looks like this is slowly changing these days. – Fattie Sep 26 '16 at 14:03
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I have both cards and, while I've never had a problem in the US, I do inform Wells Fargo of my travel plans, both domestic and international. The online banking system, in the alert tab, lets you plug in the dates and destinations.

A family member did have an experience similar to what you describe, but with Bank of America. The card was put on hold, not cancelled, when it saw transactions on the East Coast and the address on file is on the West Coast.

As for American Express, here's what it says to the query (in my online account management tool):

I'm traveling soon. Do I need to let American Express know?

No, you don't need to notify us before you travel. We recognize when you are traveling and will ensure your account is protected by monitoring the activity on your account.

  • You're right about hold vs cancel. I'll correct that. – Peter M Sep 25 '16 at 22:21
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    I bought a can of pop from a vending machine in florida with a credit card. Before making it back to the room, the company had called my office to ask if I was in Florida. Apparently it was a funny call with them asking to speak to me, my right-hand-woman saying I was not available but she could help, them asking where I was, her not wanting to say ... until eventually the confirmed to each other I was in Florida and the card was kept live. Apparently bad guys love vending machines to test cards since there's nobody to remember what they looked like. I was just thirsty with no US coins! – Kate Gregory Sep 25 '16 at 22:25
  • Hi Dororthy, does your card have a "chip"? (that exciting European security device...!) – Fattie Sep 26 '16 at 14:04
  • @Joe Blow yes, I made sure to get ones that do (VISA credit and debit, and Amex credit) before going outside of the US last year. Now, in the US, more than half my transactions use the chip reader. In truth, I prefer to use the debit to get cash and pay with currency rather than credit/debit card. – Giorgio Sep 26 '16 at 14:12
  • Gotchya. As I report, with the card I tried (I can't even remember what bank it is), they in fact "don't even have a system" any more to report travel. It looks like your one "still has such a system" - if you see what I mean. – Fattie Sep 26 '16 at 14:14

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