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A Real Case of DYKWYD @ SIN

A Real Case of DYKWYD @ SIN

Old Dec 9, 18, 7:18 am
  #1  
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A Real Case of DYKWYD @ SIN

Hey FTers,

Whilst going to the gate to take an SQ flight to DPS earlier today I encountered several cases of DYKWYD (Do You Know What You're Doing?). In the first case, during the x-ray scan at the gate in SIN, there was a European in front of me who decided to bring along a 1.5L bottle of vodka (not in a "security bag" with receipt). Needless to say she was surprised when security confiscated it, saying, "I brought this from Poland," which begs the question how the heck did she manage to get that into the transit area of SIN?

The other DYKWYD case I witness today on the same flight, I was seated beside someone who called their bank (while waiting to board) and was angry that the only credit card he took with him for international travel got cancelled while he was en-route to his final destination. To me, this seems like an amateur error albeit from the sounds of things it looks like his financial institution were sitting on their hands giving him the run around.

Is it just me or is it crazy to travel internationally with just one credit card? The way I see it, you should expect that one (or more) of your credit cards won't work whilst travelling. I can understand the safety and security element of it (i.e. what if card gets lost/stolen), but if you're travelling exclusively with credit cards the only person's money who is lost is the bank (not yours!) Another thing I hear a lot on forums and elsewhere online is the idea that you should bring a debit card with you to withdraw cash. Can someone explain the rationale behind that? It seems to me that carrying a card that has access to all your assets seems irresponsible to put it modestly. Again, why not rely on using the credit card to withdraw cash (in fact my bank charges more if you dare to use a debit card to withdraw cash overseas versus a credit card!)? Sure you have to prepay your card by a little bit (to ensure you aren't assessed interest right away), but again reduces the liability.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Dec 9, 18, 9:04 am
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Sometimes things that seem obvious to experienced people aren't necessarily so to those with little or no experience. That's the case with anything in life.

I know some folks who only have one credit card - period - and they can't imagine why anyone would need more than one. I could envision a couple of them traveling with just that card, despite advice to the contrary.

A debit card is in most all cases the best way to obtain currency overseas. Compared to bringing cash to exchange, the exchange rate is better (with a few exceptions) and you don't have all that cash to get lost or stolen. Cash advances from a credit card carry exorbitant cash advance interest rates and with most issuers the interest starts accruing immediately with no grace period, irrespective of your card balance. Most of us consider a credit card cash advance to be a last resort in case of emergency.

If a lost/stolen debit card is reported quickly you're not going to be liable for unauthorized charges more than $50 (and maybe not even anything at all). Of course if you're really worried you can keep a separate account from your primary one, with just some money in it for use while traveling. Another plus is a debit card doesn't charge any interest. Depending on the bank your institution may charge a foreign transaction fee and an ATM withdrawal fee (in some countries the ATM owner of course may charge an ATM use fee if you're not using a debit card from that bank). Even with those debit card fees, I've not had a credit card where the extra interest charges would be cheaper than use of a debit card for cash withdrawals.

And at least in the US there are options with low or no foreign transaction fees and which don't charge you an additional fee for using an ATM - Charles Schwab is one option with zero foreign transaction fees and no additional ATM fees - they also reimburse you each month for any ATM fees charged by the ATM owner...no monthly fee and no account minimum. There is a similar Fidelity account though I believe there is a 1% forex fee, though reimbursement for ATM fees occurs more quickly than monthly. I use Schwab and love it. There are threads about both on FT.
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Last edited by 84fiero; Dec 9, 18 at 9:13 am
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Old Dec 9, 18, 10:55 am
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I travel with two debit cards (business and personal) and three credit cards (one business, two personal.) I've had credit cards cancelled mid-trip or not had them work to make a purchase (service stations in the U.S.) and had to resort to a debit card. I've also had debit cards not work to withdraw local cash (Namibia, French Polynesia.)

In places where theft risk is high I will split up my cards and leave one debit and credit in my hotel safe in the event I lose the others.

IMO, what is really crazy is travelling without enough room on your cards to manage an emergency or an unforeseen last minute change in plans. I have high limit cards that can get me back home from anywhere in any fare class at a moment's notice.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 11:24 am
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A bit of a case of DYKWYD there yourself j2simpso. A debit card as 84fiero says, is the normal way to get cash when travelling. Put simply, it is to avoid interest being charged from day one as it is is you use a credit card in an ATM. There can also be other factors that come into play as well.

Also regarding pre-loading your credit card to try and avoid interest charges if you use it at an ATM, that may or may not work. In some cases, they charge the interest regardless of whether there is a positive balance or not. In other cases, if your card is lost or stolen, the pre-loaded amount is NOT covered by your card agreement.

So there is a bit of DYKWYD in your own answer. We all go by what we individually are aware of and of course we all get it wrong sometimes. You may wish to do a bit more research on your own method of handling cash when travelling to see if it really is the best way for you to do so given what is available to you in terms of both credit and debit cards in your neck of the woods.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 11:55 am
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I always use a debit card for cash when travelling in Europe, Africa and Middle East. Consistently best rates and no need to load up cards in advance. I don't see the big deal there.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 12:03 pm
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I agree that debit card is great for getting cash at the ATMs, especially in Europe since many of the top banks do not even charge ATM fees when using them.

However, I still use cc whenever it is possible simply because I want to earn points on all my expenses and most of the travel cards have no forex fees.

I think the biggest mistake most people make is not informing their bank they are going on a trip and may be using their card overseas and this is what causes some banks to preemptively close your card. I think almost all the major banks require you to give them a travel notice, with exception being Amex, so they will not automatically flag the account when they start seeing purchases made outside your home area or regular spending pattern.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 12:34 pm
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As 95% of the world's population (likely a gross understatement) does not travel as frequently as FT members, I tend to give them a pass on travel-specific issues.

Can't comprehend how to stand to the side on an escalator/moving walk - bash away.

International customs practices and financial product availability? A pass.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 1:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Explorer789 View Post
I agree that debit card is great for getting cash at the ATMs, especially in Europe since many of the top banks do not even charge ATM fees when using them.

However, I still use cc whenever it is possible simply because I want to earn points on all my expenses and most of the travel cards have no forex fees.

I think the biggest mistake most people make is not informing their bank they are going on a trip and may be using their card overseas and this is what causes some banks to preemptively close your card. I think almost all the major banks require you to give them a travel notice, with exception being Amex, so they will not automatically flag the account when they start seeing purchases made outside your home area or regular spending pattern.
I think Chase sent me an email saying I no longer had to inform them that I was traveling. I never notify any of my credit card companies anymore. Of course I'm out of the country 3-5 times a year.

As for a debit card, I tried for a very long time to just have an ATM card (only that couldn't be used as a debit card) but I think all my financial institutions have done away with that. As far as liability, the bank and/or Visa/MC may place a daily limit on withdrawals. I have changed those on various cards.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 1:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Explorer789 View Post
I agree that debit card is great for getting cash at the ATMs, especially in Europe since many of the top banks do not even charge ATM fees when using them.

However, I still use cc whenever it is possible simply because I want to earn points on all my expenses and most of the travel cards have no forex fees.

I think the biggest mistake most people make is not informing their bank they are going on a trip and may be using their card overseas and this is what causes some banks to preemptively close your card. I think almost all the major banks require you to give them a travel notice, with exception being Amex, so they will not automatically flag the account when they start seeing purchases made outside your home area or regular spending pattern.
My bank (Citi) flags my travel when purchased with its cards, and sends me an email confirming awareness of my travel before I depart. This avoids having to give travel notice.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by manneca View Post
I think Chase sent me an email saying I no longer had to inform them that I was traveling. I never notify any of my credit card companies anymore. Of course I'm out of the country 3-5 times a year.

As for a debit card, I tried for a very long time to just have an ATM card (only that couldn't be used as a debit card) but I think all my financial institutions have done away with that. As far as liability, the bank and/or Visa/MC may place a daily limit on withdrawals. I have changed those on various cards.
In fact for you, the CC issuer may have put your frequent travel into your profile. Amex does this, iirc.

To avoid hassles with acceptance overseas, I'll always carry a chip and pin M/C along with the Amex Platinum. The M/C likes travel notifications.

I use a Schwab Debit Card (with Visa) overseas at ATMs for cash - no fees, no Forex, and refunds any bank's ATM fees. But...I opened a separate account that I only fund with sufficient money for each trip. Sits idle with a $100 balance between trips. No linkage to my main investment account.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Badenoch View Post

In places where theft risk is high I will split up my cards and leave one debit and credit in my hotel safe in the event I lose the others.
Nice tip! Thanks!
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Old Dec 9, 18, 2:58 pm
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Curve Card

I use my Curve card for as much as possible.
That way I donít really risk the underlying card.

if I lose the card, I can freeze it in the app on my phone, and if I hadnít realised itís missing... Iím grateful for the notifications when itís used.

ive used it at home in London, Dubai, Vietnam and in South Africa with no issues so far!
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Old Dec 9, 18, 3:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Badenoch View Post
I travel with two debit cards (business and personal) and three credit cards (one business, two personal.) I've had credit cards cancelled mid-trip or not had them work to make a purchase (service stations in the U.S.) and had to resort to a debit card. I've also had debit cards not work to withdraw local cash (Namibia, French Polynesia.)

In places where theft risk is high I will split up my cards and leave one debit and credit in my hotel safe in the event I lose the others.

IMO, what is really crazy is travelling without enough room on your cards to manage an emergency or an unforeseen last minute change in plans. I have high limit cards that can get me back home from anywhere in any fare class at a moment's notice.
I am similarly rather judicious in carrying backups and then backups for my backups.

Two debit cards: one Schwab (my primary) and a CapOne 360 as backup.

Three credit cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Citi TY Premier and Amex Plat. The Citi card is my primary as I've found MasterCard often has *slightly* better forex rates and the Plat mostly comes along for the benefits.

Similarly, those cards all have ample credit limits to get me home from anywhere.

I carry only the Schwab and Citi cards, leaving the rest in the hotel safe. I have a slim card case that I keep all of those in, along with Priority Pass, insurance cards, etc. Add to that $300 in backup cash (all crisp recent-issue twenties in good condition).

My daily-carry cards go into a stick-on card slot on the back of my phone.

The wallet also has a card with my Gmail password and backup 2FA codes (though I obfuscate the password slightly and mentally note how to transpose it back). That card case, the money clip and my passport all go directly into the hotel safe after checking in.

If I'm in a place with very high CC acceptance like London, I don't even bother carrying the Schwab card around.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 11:04 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Hey FTers,

Whilst going to the gate to take an SQ flight to DPS earlier today I encountered several cases of DYKWYD (Do You Know What You're Doing?). In the first case, during the x-ray scan at the gate in SIN, there was a European in front of me who decided to bring along a 1.5L bottle of vodka (not in a "security bag" with receipt). Needless to say she was surprised when security confiscated it, saying, "I brought this from Poland," which begs the question how the heck did she manage to get that into the transit area of SIN?

The other DYKWYD case I witness today on the same flight, I was seated beside someone who called their bank (while waiting to board) and was angry that the only credit card he took with him for international travel got cancelled while he was en-route to his final destination. To me, this seems like an amateur error albeit from the sounds of things it looks like his financial institution were sitting on their hands giving him the run around.

Is it just me or is it crazy to travel internationally with just one credit card? The way I see it, you should expect that one (or more) of your credit cards won't work whilst travelling. I can understand the safety and security element of it (i.e. what if card gets lost/stolen), but if you're travelling exclusively with credit cards the only person's money who is lost is the bank (not yours!) Another thing I hear a lot on forums and elsewhere online is the idea that you should bring a debit card with you to withdraw cash. Can someone explain the rationale behind that? It seems to me that carrying a card that has access to all your assets seems irresponsible to put it modestly. Again, why not rely on using the credit card to withdraw cash (in fact my bank charges more if you dare to use a debit card to withdraw cash overseas versus a credit card!)? Sure you have to prepay your card by a little bit (to ensure you aren't assessed interest right away), but again reduces the liability.

Safe Travels,

James
Not being funny but the majority are not people on here. Thus not everyone is going to be able to have, or even need, more than one card. I haven't even owned a card since mid 2015 and still managed fine in 40 countries, albeit all bar 5 were with my husband who does have them, but still.

Again, I bring up the point of shortsightedness of people here failing to realise that their gripes are applicable to an extremely small minority.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 11:11 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Needless to say she was surprised when security confiscated it, saying, "I brought this from Poland," which begs the question how the heck did she manage to get that into the transit area of SIN?
Very simple, she bought it at WAW after security, travelled to SIN on LOT and disembarked into the terminal. At SIN T1/2/3 security is gate based, and transit/departing/arriving passengers all freely mix in the transit area (with the sole exception of random security screening of arrivals from secondary, mainly SE Asia, ports - although I am not sure if there would be a LAGs restriction for that screening)..
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