"" Writer's Wanderings: Credit Cards - Take Two

Monday, January 06, 2014

Credit Cards - Take Two

A couple of years ago we arrived on the island of Maui in February to begin a two week respite from the snow and cold back home. It's whale season then. The time when the whales populate the warm waters of Hawaii, mate and have babies. We were late getting there and and drove to our rented condo in the dark. By the time we reached our condo near Lahaina we had decided we didn't like the car that the rental place had given us and decided that we would exchange it for something else in the morning.

The airport rental car company was on our way to see Haleakala so it wasn't really out of our way to get rid of the big car and get something a little smaller with more comfortable seats. We pulled into the parking lot and for some reason, Bob checked his phone for messages. There was one from our credit card company that said we needed to call about suspicious charges. We smiled at one another and thought that maybe our charges for the car and a few other things had raised suspicion since we were so far from home.

Bob called and discovered that it was much more than that. Someone had bought musical CDs, some electronic equipment, and, lo and behold, signed up for a dating service. I raised my eyebrow at Bob. He shook his head vigorously. The credit card company canceled the card immediately and we arranged to have them FedEx us a new card ASAP. Unfortunately, we were miles from home and the weekend was looming ahead. We'd be without our major credit card until Monday at best!

Thankfully, I have a card that I use for my writing costs and we used that to get along. While the idea of consolidating all of our charges into just one card was a good one, in this instance it would have been disastrous if we'd not had a second card to fall back on. Of course Bob spent the weekend online and on the phone getting the new number registered with all the automatic payments we make.

Moral of the story I guess is that it might be prudent to carry two credit cards as you travel. Keep them separate, using only one and reserving the other for a backup. That way if one is stolen or, as in our case, the number pilfered somehow online your vacation can still go forward without interruption. It is still safer than carrying cash and much more accepted everywhere than are traveler's checks. Do they even make those any more?

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