Brits rack up an average £42 in call and data charges contacting their bank to get the block on their debit or credit card lifted
A QUARTER of holidaymakers who have tried to use their debit or credit card abroad have had their plastic blocked, despite two-thirds warning their bank that they were going away.
As a result, travellers spend an average £42 each calling their bank in an attempt to get their card unblocked.
All-in-all, holidaymakers are forking out a combined £240million in call and data charges after contacting their banks to reactivate blocked cards while on holiday, research by price comparison site uSwitch.com reveals.
But the impact of a blocked card on holiday is not only financial, it can cause emotional distress too, with the research showing that a quarter of those who had their card blocked said they were left feeling stressed and anxious.
A fifth had to borrow money from family and friends to get through to the end of the trip, and one in six had to wait more than 24 hours before their card was reactivated.
Tom Lyon, a money expert at uSwitch.com, said that while banks typically block cards in this way for security reasons, many people are finding their cards are stopped even after notifying their provider about their travel plans.
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He said: “Banks need to up their game and look to technology to ensure that they are providing consumers with an efficient service when they are stranded abroad with a blocked card.
“If you do incur costs such as call or data charges when trying to reactivate your card, ask your bank for a refund. If your bank turns your complaint down, you can take your case to the free and independent Financial Ombudsman Service.”
The research found that almost half of people would like their bank to offer instant text alerts to tell them when their card had been suspended, while 35 per cent would like email notifications and 22 per cent would like to be told via their app.
uSwitch.com said it wanted to see banks provide customers with an automatic refund of any costs associated with reactivating their credit or debit card, if the bank had previously been informed about the overseas trip.
How to avoid having your card blocked abroad
- IF you’re travelling overseas and plan to use your plastic while there, tell your bank where you’re going and how long you’ll be there so they can make a note of it on your account. While this doesn’t always make a difference, most of the time it does
- While you’re there, take down the bank’s helpline number so you know who to call when your card is blocked – this information will also be on the bank’s website
- Also make sure that your bank has the correct mobile number for you so that it can contact you straight away if it detects suspicious activity
- Always carry travel cash with you in case of emergencies like this, and if you have spare debit and credit cards these can be helpful back-ups too
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