I’m quite fond of USAA, but one thing drives me MAD…having my credit card account frozen for potential fraud because I live overseas and my transactions don’t look like I live in the US. (I can hear some of you nodding.) USAA certainly isn’t the worst of my cards to do this, but it has happened despite numerous phone calls and requests to note that we live in Europe. It is frustrating to have your card frozen when you’re in a tough place, and it has happened enough (from all institutions) that we’ve moved from two credit cards to four just to ensure that we’re less likely to get completely stuck.
Today, I learned a neat little trick to hopefully decrease the number of times this happens, at least with my USAA card. Log into your USAA online account, and navigate to the card that you may use. At the bottom of the screen, there are a number of account services listed. At the bottom of the middle column, if your screen renders like mine, is an option called Manage Travel Notifications. If you click on that link, you can tell USAA that you will be traveling. You will need your card handy to include verification information.
This isn’t perfect, as there is no way to say “I live in Germany but I also shop at US websites and on US military bases,” and you can’t have overlapping travel alerts, so you might have to carefully enter a complicated itinerary. However, this is a great way to add another layer of notification to the usual telephone and email choices. I have no idea if it will actual have any impact, but anything that increases the chances of your card working is a good thing.