Alerting your card issuer in advance about your travel plans can be a good practice if you want to avoid problems when trying to use your card in a new place. But it can be a tedious task requiring a phone call and a long wait on hold.
If you have a U.S. Bank Visa debit or credit card, though, you can skip the hassle. The issuer announced this week that it has added location services to its U.S. Bank mobile app. The new feature can verify whether your cell phone and card are in the same place by comparing your phone’s location with the location of the merchant where your card is being swiped.
U.S. Bank says this can minimize the chance of your card getting rejected and potentially reduces the risk of fraud. The feature is being rolled out to all U.S. Bank Visa debit and credit card holders in time for the holiday shopping and traveling season.
“During the holiday season, consumers frequently make large purchases outside of known locations when traveling, and the location services feature gives our customers more control of their card activity, both domestically and internationally,” John Steward, the president of the Retail Payment Solutions division of U.S. Bank, said in a news release.
About a dozen other financial institutions, including some major issuers, have adopted this technology and are in various stages of piloting it or offering limited releases, Sandra Chu, a Visa spokesperson, said by email.
The U.S. Bank mobile app automatically provides this feature on Android and Apple devices if you are an eligible cardholder and you allow location services when prompted. You can opt out of the service if you don’t want it.