When traveling, we more and more rely on debit and credit cards to pay for things and get money from ATM’s. All is good when things work. When something starts going south it is good to have back up plans in place.
Over the years I have had my wallet lost, card(s) deactivated due to merchant database compromises, Visa/MasterCard authorization systems not working etc. These are all manageable when you have alternative plans in place.
I always carry debit/ATM cards for three different checking/current accounts from different banks and keep the accounts funded. Not all ATM’s work with all cards. I have had instances where Citi issued card haven’t worked at Citi ATM in different country due to card being on different network.
Once in Israel the ATM machine just malfunctioned and ate the card. Was flying out the following day and wouldn’t had a chance to visit the branch trying to claim my card back.
Amex, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover/DinersClub
Don’t rely on traveling using just one card from one issuer. It is best to have multiple cards from different banks that use different networks.
Just earlier today when I was trying to use Amex branded card to pay for a hotel, it came back as declined. Called the bank only to find out that the merchant database had been compromised with a merchant that I had used this card with. As a precaution all the affected cards had been canceled and new cards issued. Doesn’t really help when one is on a multi month trip.
Sometimes merchants systems are down with a specific card. Was visiting Cannes earlier in the Summer and went to Carrefour to pick up some items. Seemed that their Visa system was down as two of my Visa cards came back as declined without any apparent reason. MasterCard systems was up and running, however.
Not all retailers take all cards. Once in Mexico City the airport cab company could only take Amex-branded cards, although they are least accepted worldwide.