Editorial Policy

Credit Card Deals #5: Get Emergency Assistance From Your Credit Card

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By Eva Norlyk Smith, Ph.D.
May 22, 2009

You’re traveling in a third world country, and right in the middle of a crowded street a thief grabs your bag. Before you can even yell for help, he’s gone. And so are your credit cards, wallet, cell phone, and other vital belongings.

What to do? While calling your credit card issuer may not be the first thing that comes to mind, perhaps it should be. All credit card companies, be it Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover Cards offer emergency assistance to travelers, usually 24/7 and sometimes even when you’re as little as over 100 miles from home.

Many credit card companies, like American Express, also stand by with emergency checkin assistance, allowing you to check in to your hotel and charge the stay to your credit card, even if your card has been lost or stolen.

Need emergency cash? Most credit card companies will arrange to have cash wired to a nearby financial service institution or even delivered to you. Lost your passport and IDs? Again in many cases, your credit card company will help you get them replaced. Plane tickets lost or stolen? No problem. Your friendly credit card provider will help you make arrangements to replace or rebook your tickets.

There’s unrest in the country you’re visiting, and your home country determines that there is a need for evacuation? Again, credit card companies like American Express, Visa, and Discover stand by you and will use all resources to help you get out of danger.

Simply call the global assistance hotline of your credit card for assistance. The name of the service varies for each card brand, and the services offered also differ in how extensive they are-even for two credit cards of the same credit card brand. So before heading off on a long trip, call the financial institution that issued your credit card to find out exactly how you’re covered and to get the phone numbers to call in case of an emergency.