Monday, January 01, 2007

credit cards

Hello again and Happy New Year. I recently discovered that it is not wise to travel with just one credit card, as I usually do. I have been a fan of Royal Bank Visa Gold for many years, mainly because it offers, among other perks, 31 days of emergency health insurance if you travel outside of Canada. You don't have to sign up or answer any questions, which is well worth the card cost.

However, during December I called my home number and had a message to call Royal Bank Visa security. Because of some unusual activity on my card, Visa had temporarily cancelled the card. Fortunately, I had not had to use it for a week or so. After I assured them that I was indeed the one using the card, the account was reinstated. But I wonder what might have happened if I had been travelling, as I like to, in a remote area where it can be difficult to telephone North America. I could have found myself up the Zambezi without a paddle, or in other words in deep do-do.

Because of this experience I realize that I will reluctantly have to apply for another credit card for use in emergencies. I prefer the simplicity of using a single card, but it is obviously too risky now with the banks ready to suspend your card with very little provocation. I suppose that because they are on hook for unauthorized use of the card, with the possible exception of a nominal amount, they want to be extra vigilant. But that attitude can be costly to customers. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be now to purchase an airline ticket or check into a hotel without a working credit card.

Forewarned is forearmed. Don't leave home without at least two credit cards.

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