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Two questions

Friday, 14 September 2012

Is there really any point in telling your card issuer you are going on holiday?  I did this on my last holiday, as did my son on his, and in both locations the applications were blocked on first usage.  We both then contacted our respective issuers to clarify the transactions were genuine only for them to be blocked again.  Now maybe this was unusual but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating and my son has now moved his account elsewhere as it was the second holiday on which it has happened to him from the same issuer.  Is it really that difficult to get a message to stick on the fraud system?  Or is it more advisable as a former colleague has advised me to leave a ‘trail of breadcrumbs’ for the fraud system to pick up.  Apparently if you use your card at the departure airport and again on arrival at your destination the fraud system is likely to be able to work out what has happened.  So is that a better way to tell your bank you’re away?

Another query has arisen in relation to pre-paid cards.  With concerns about the pre-paid market in the US needing more regulation it seems reasonable to ask the same question about the UK.  One example recently was at my local golf club which has had a card in issue for 2 years for use in the club bar.  No terms and conditions have ever been issued with this card and the club is now introducing a £50 annual payment to the card and a rule stating that any balance left on the card at the end of the year will be lost.  Is the club acting within their rights?  There are e-money rules implemented by the FSA in 2011 but do these rules affect this type of pre-paid card environment which is probably a fairly typical set up in clubs?

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