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Strategies for Spare Credit Card
Old 02-17-2020, 11:37 AM   #1
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Strategies for Spare Credit Card

I'd like to have a spare credit card in case we are on a trip and our credit card is stolen or, more likely, the card company cancels it because it was compromised.

BofA won't let you have two cards with different numbers.

If I get one from a different company, I'll have to unfreeze my credit reports.

First question: I have a debit card from our bank. Can I just rely on that, or are there situations in which a credit card is required?

Second question: What would be a good card to get if I decide I need a second card? Note that I will probably never use it.

Thanks.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:44 AM   #2
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I have 4 BOA credit cards. The travel one, the cash reward one, the premier one (fee) and a regular one.

(edit: I am planning to cancel the travel one, as the premier one although having a fee has terrific trip cancellation coverage, and higher cash back rates, etc, so it pays for the $95 fee easily)

A couple can get 2 cards with different numbers.
One for you, and one for spouse. Why would you each not have one of your own ?
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:46 AM   #3
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Our debit card (from BofA) can be used as a credit card also. I have never had any problems using it that way while on vacation, if I needed too.
We do have two credit cards, though. But I rarely carry both of them, as the debit/credit has worked if needed.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:04 PM   #4
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I would not use a debit card as a credit card. I do not like the lack of protections you have with them and don't want my bank account tied to use of a credit card.

If you have a Visa card then if I was going to get only one card I would probably get a Mastercard. There are occasional places that will take one and not the other (for example, Costco required a Visa card last week).

As to what cards to have, I would prioritize getting cards that have some sort of rewards you will use.

In reality, I use the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card for all daily spending where I can use it. In a given year I usually get back over a $1000 in cash back (which more than reimburses the $95 annual fee).

For my Visa card I use the Chase Prime Visa card which gives me 5% back at Amazon.

For my Mastercard I use the one from Apple that gives me 3% on things I buy at Apple (such as my iPhone) and 2% if I use Apple Pay and 1% on things where I use the card itself or its number.

I use all 3 cards. The Amex is used for most of my spending. The Visa card is used on Amazon or anywhere that requires Visa. The Apple Mastercard is used for Apple purchases, where I can use Apple Pay and would get a higher cash back than on Amex (i.e. stores other than grocery stores or gas stations) and anywhere else that doesn't take Amex.

(DH and I do have some other cards that we use once every 6 months or so to keep them active).
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sunset View Post

A couple can get 2 cards with different numbers.
One for you, and one for spouse. Why would you each not have one of your own ?

THAT!


In fact, my Mastercard requires separate numbers for me and wife. I even got one for my son when he was trying to qualify for a home loan. Adding him gave him his own number plus 30 years of 'credit history' with the card since I've had it that long. (After he bought the home, I cancelled his card)


I don't know, but my financial investment house, Fidelity, has credit cards. I wonder if they even do a credit check if there's sufficient funds in the accounts.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:11 PM   #6
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DW and I carry one credit card and one debit card each. They are on different banks so if a card gets lost, damaged, or is otherwise unusable, like having been shut down by anti-fraud software, we are still covered.

Credit cards are for spending, debit cards for ATMs. Credit cards are never used at ATMs because that is considered a cash advance and you get whacked with big$ interest beginning immediately. We also avoid non-bank ATMs just for good luck.

You want debit cards that reimburse ATM fees worldwide and have no foreign transaction fee. You also want the debit card issuer to indemnify you 100% against fraud. Wells (DW) and Schwab (me) do this. You want credit cards that have no foreign transaction fee. Credit card protection is required under federal law, IIRC anything over $50.

One other thing internationally that some might not be aware of is: When the nice man asks if you want the charge in dollars or in local currency, never choose dollars. That is an invitation to get raped on the exchange rate. Local currency on the credit card gets exchanged at the bank wholesale rate.

Edit: Forgot to mention: AMEX is difficult or impossible to use most places when traveling internationally. Their fees are too high. I don't know about Discover but I wouldn't take the chance of relying on it.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post
DW and I carry one credit card and one debit card each. They are on different banks so if a card gets lost, damaged, or is otherwise unusable, like having been shut down by anti-fraud software, we are still covered.

....
And in the extremely rare situation, if either of you gets lost separately, hospitalized, or died, or imprisoned, etc, the other person still can spend money for hotel, food, travel, bail, etc.
Something that would not be possible if the card is in the dead/imprisoned person's name.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:27 PM   #8
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We have:
4 Visa credit cards (we are playing the points game with 2 of them)
1 Mastercard (only in case Visa does not work)
2 Visa debit cards (for ATM use) (our checking balances are usually under $300)
1 Amex
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:27 PM   #9
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When I travel, I usually carry

1. Discover card - which is my main cc
2. Mastercard - a spare cc that I seldom use, but for traveling
3. Visa debit card - checking account from local bank, that doesn't have a big cash balance but enough to get me home
4. cash

The debit card for my main checking account, I don't leave in my wallet when home or traveling since it has a larger balance that don't wish to risk losing.

When traveling, I like to put what expenses I can on the spare Mastercard as makes things easier to budget. I just look at the transactions on that one card instead of my main cc which has a lot of regular auto payments on.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:41 PM   #10
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I don't recommend relying on a debit card, especially for out-of-town travel. Replacement cards will only be mailed to the address of record and there they will sit, in your mailbox or even worse, maybe on your front porch in plain sight (as I've had happen with replacement credit cards). My daughter had her debit card compromised when she was on a month-long trip visiting out-of-town friends. Fortunately for her, I was able to mail the replacement card to her, but if you're leaving no one at home who could do that for you...plus it took twice as long for her to get access to her money again.

Fidelity VISA and Discover used to allow joint accounts. Credit cards usually allow authorized users. Of course, per Sunset's post, the authorized user shouldn't try to use the card in case of death of the credit card holder. I'd guess it would be OK in the other instances: hospitalization, imprisonment, etc., as long as the credit card bill gets paid.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:44 PM   #11
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I had to unfreeze my credit last week. They have changed the interfaces. If you have your sign in and password (hope everyone recorded these) the process to unfreeze / refreeze your credit takes a minute. Just apply for a second card.

For an indestructible second card, try Apple. They issue you a metal, not plastic card and there are no numbers printed on it. Safe, secure.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
First question: I have a debit card from our bank. Can I just rely on that, or are there situations in which a credit card is required?
Some car rental companies will not take a debit card. The ones that do will generally put a large hold on it. For a debit card, a hold ties up your funds and prevents you from spending them until the hold is released, which could be a week or more after you return the car.

Hotels are another category where there's a hold on your funds if you use a debit card, although it's generally not as large as for a car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Second question: What would be a good card to get if I decide I need a second card? Note that I will probably never use it.
If you won't be using it anyway, just get a card that has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. The Costco Visa by Citi and the Amazon Visa by Chase both meet these requirements, though there are many others as well. I prefer Visa to Amex or Discover because it's accepted more overseas, which is when I'm most likely to need a spare card.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:48 PM   #13
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One other thing internationally that some might not be aware of is: When the nice man asks if you want the charge in dollars or in local currency, never choose dollars. That is an invitation to get raped on the exchange rate. Local currency on the credit card gets exchanged at the bank wholesale rate.

+1 cannot emphasize this enough. We have saved several hundred dollars just off of hotel bills doing this.


We have shard credit cards from two different suppliers, but when traveling only one us us will travel with a card.e.g. I will use my card for supplier A and DW with have her card for supplier B. Then we each have a separate 2nd card.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:52 PM   #14
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I don't recommend relying on a debit card, especially for out-of-town travel. Replacement cards will only be mailed to the address of record and there they will sit.
FWIW, that's not always true. My Schwab debit card had a chip malfunction a couple of years ago and they were happy to FedEx a replacement to me at my hotel in England.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:22 PM   #15
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I enjoy using various cards that result in about a 10% saving on our spending, but that involves (tax free) card bonus games, which some don't care to do. My overall favorite spend-on-anything card has no annual fee and pays 2% cash back on everything. Fidelity Visa. Absent any games playing it is the simplest consistently decent return card we have.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:09 PM   #16
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FWIW, that's not always true. My Schwab debit card had a chip malfunction a couple of years ago and they were happy to FedEx a replacement to me at my hotel in England.
I'm glad to hear that. Maybe it depends on the financial institution? This was my daughter's Ally Bank debit card. I just asked her about it and she doesn't recall being given an option to have the replacement mailed to where she was staying vs. being sent to her home address. She's young and it was her first experience with something like this. Me, I would have said I was nowhere near home, so that wouldn't work. What you say makes more sense. Otherwise, people would have to cut their trips short and return home immediately with no access to money.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:13 PM   #17
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I have two different BofA credit cards with different rewards systems.

I would so not use a debit card!

I think the suggestion for your wife to get her own credit card is a good one. She’ll need to temporarily unfreeze credit - no way around that. The bank is usually willing to let you know which agency. Then she can get a second card issued for you.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:20 PM   #18
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... Otherwise, people would have to cut their trips short and return home immediately with no access to money.
Well, your implicit premise is that the people were traveling with only the one now-dead card. It's hard for me to believe that anyone would put themselves in that position.

We're off to South Africa and Botswana on Friday. In addition to the cards mentioned above, we'll be carrying a couple of hundred US$. Half in DWs purse and half in my wallet. Other than using it for few tips we will probably come home with almost all of it. But it is a good backstop and sometimes cash is the only option in village markets.

Layered defense, basically.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:32 PM   #19
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Re paranoia about debit cards IMO it is overblown. While it is true that there are little or no legal protections, my guess is that most financial institutions have had to provide protections for competitive reasons.

Grabbed after a quick Google search:
Bank of America: "$0 Liability Guarantee will credit fraudulent transactions made with your debit card back to your account as soon as the next business day if your card is lost or stolen."

Wells Fargo: "Your Wells Fargo Debit Card comes with Zero Liability protection at no extra cost. You will be reimbursed for promptly reported unauthorized card transactions."

Schwab: "Schwab will cover 100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity."

I would simply not deal with an issuer that did not indemnify me.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:35 PM   #20
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For a back up card that you don't plan to use much, little strategy is needed. Get one with no fee, no foreign transaction fees (since travel is the one place you'll be most likely to have to use it) and one with decent cash back. Amex, Capital one, Citi, all have things with these flavors.

A second card on the same account (even if your wife gets one) doesn't help you if the account itself gets compromised while you need to use a card. Your wife should have her own anyway, in case you pre-decease her, and she wants her own card(s) later in life - some banks will leave the surviving spouse with only an option to "apply" to take over the account.

And yeah...replacement efficiency depends by issuer. It's silly to me why some are slow and stubborn on this - because "get the card into the member's hands asap" should be the mantra - that's the one they'll start spending on right away, and remember as offering great service. Might be a good test when you know you'll have no need sometime: Call your bank and say you lost your wallet and can you get a replacement asap - you'll find out how good they are ... or not.
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