Due in increased fraud, credit card companies recommend you give them a call when you are about to travel or when you are expecting to spend a larger than normal sum of money so that purchases won't get flagged by the security computer as being potentially fraudulent.
That was on my list to do today but I tackled it last night.
First it was Visa. They wanted to know exactly when I'd be where and if I was going to spend more than $1000 in a single transaction, where and when would that be? I almost laughed out loud. How do people know exactly when and where they are going to make a big purchase when they haven't been there before? I think the agent realized just how ridiculous that question was.
Second it was MasterCard. Their automated system include a travel notification choice. So right off the bat, they seemed to be more "with it". Once I got to a live person, it changed. It was worse than getting my teeth cleaned.
Finally it was Amex. By far the easiest call. The agent happened to have gone to Iceland before and was gushing about how beautiful she remembered it to be and wished me a great trip. I got the distinct feeling they expect people to travel and this procedure is not a big deal. I like that.
At one time, with the thought of making things easier, I had planned to pare down to just my Visa. Until a trip to France made me decide otherwise. If you forget your pin number, Visa will not give you one over the phone, whereas MC and Amex will.
It is also easier to call MC and AMEX from overseas than Visa. We found that out after 40 mins at a payphone, also in France. Thus our purchase of a world phone. Now that most credit cards are changing over to chip cards, hopefully there will be less of a need for merchants to call to verify theirs and your identity at each point of purchase.