July 25 2014 Latest news:

It is important to let your credit card provider know if you are going abroad either on holiday or for business, otherwise you run the risk of embarrassment at the checkout.

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Thanks in large part to a huge increase in fraud, consumers are finding that banks and other card issuers are becoming more wary of sanctioning unexpected spending behaviour unless they have been given advance warning. That means an attempt to use your card thousands of miles from home could well run into difficulty if your provider has not been informed in advance that you will be travelling.

“In an effort to protect consumers, banks are using increasingly sophisticated fraud intelligence systems to help identify unusual patterns of spending or high-risk transactions on cards,” said Stuart McKeggie, head of credit cards at Sainsbury’s Bank. “A legitimate overseas transaction can sometimes trigger a referral note on your card that requires the retailer to make an authorisation call to the issuer.

“Unfortunately, sometimes retailers overseas decide to decline the card rather than make the call.

“It’s a sensible precaution for cardholders to let their provider know if they’re planning to use their card abroad, regardless of which country they’re intending to visit, to help prevent triggering any anti-fraud security.”

Research by Sainsbury’s suggests that more than 3.5 million Britons have had their credit cards declined while overseas.

Card fraud cost banks £400m last year, with the number of victims jumping by 40pc to more than 2.4 million people.

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