Holidaymakers – Alert Card Issuer Before Heading Overseas

31 May 2011

New research(1) by Sainsbury’s Finance indicates that some 10.7 million Brits could be at risk of having their credit card declined when trying to buy an item or service abroad, as a result of not informing their card provider that they intend to use it whilst they are away.

Declined credit card transactions are just one of the consequences of card fraud as banks apply caution to unexpected or unusual card behavior, which can include foreign use. Last year card fraud cost banks £400 million, with the number of victims affected by card fraud last year jumping by 40% to more than 2.4 million people, making Brits three times more likely to be a victim of card fraud than burglary(2).

Stuart McKeggie, head of Sainsbury’s credit cards,commented:  “In an effort to protect consumers, banks are using increasingly sophisticated fraud intelligence systems to help identify unusual patterns of spending or high-risk transactions on cards.  In some cases, a legitimate overseas transaction can sometimes trigger a referral note on your card that requires the retailer to make an authorisation call to the issuer.  Unfortunately, sometimes retailers overseas decide to decline the card rather than make the call.”

The supermarket bank’s new research indicates that some 3.6 million people, approximately one in 10 credit cardholders, has had their credit card declined whilst trying to use it overseas.

Cardholders can help to limit the chances of having their credit card declined whilst abroad by informing their card provider that they are going to be out of the UK and may potentially be making some overseas transactions.  The new findings(1) show that the majority of cardholders (45%) do not inform their provider if they’re going abroad.  A further 2.99 million people (12% of cardholders who use their credit card outside of the UK) only let their provider know if they are planning to travel to certain countries outside of the UK.

Stuart McKeggie continued:  “It’s a sensible precaution for cardholders to let their provider know if they’re planning to use their card abroad, regardless of which country they’re intending to visit, to help prevent triggering any anti-fraud security.

“People shouldn’t be put off using their card abroad as there are many advantages to using a card overseas, particularly if you have a card such as our Sainsbury’s Gold Card, which offers a range of benefits including free cash withdrawals and no FX charges on overseas transactions.”

Tips for credit cardholders travelling overseas:

Sainsbury’s Finance offers a range of credit cards to meet different lifestyle requirements. The Sainsbury’s Gold Credit Card offers customers a number of attractive benefits when both travelling and staying at home. These include no foreign exchange transaction fees, interest-free cash withdrawals (if the whole balance is paid in full and on time each month)(3) and worldwide family travel insurance(4) which is one of the best quality products available according to Defaqto(5). In addition the card offers a low rate of 9.94% pa (variable) on purchases and offers users double Nectar points on Sainsbury’s shopping in-store, online and in petrol filling stations. The card carries a fee of just £5 per month.

To find out more about the Sainsbury’s Gold Credit Card call0800 313 4609, or log onto or pick up a leaflet in your Sainsbury’s supermarket. Customers applying for a Sainsbury’s card will need to have their Nectar card ready when they apply.

– Ends –

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Rowan / Ian Morris
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7282 1049 / 1037

Notes to editors:

(1) ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 2,001 adults aged 18+ by online-bus between 6h – 7th April 2011. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at

(2) Statistics from 2010 British Crime Survey on card fraud –

(3)Assuming balance is paid in full and on time (46 days – interest rate reverts to 24.9% pa variable)

(4) Worldwide travel insurance covers up to two adults and six children including travel to the USA, Personal Baggage, Winter Sports and Independent Traveller cover. Travel insurance policy is worth up to £250. No foreign exchange fees apply, assuming balance is paid in full and on time (46 days – interest rate reverts to 24.9% pa variable)

(5) Research conducted by Defaqto in August 2010 looking at the entire travel insurance market.

Sainsbury’s Finance Travel Insurance is administered by FirstAssist Insurance Services Limited and underwritten by Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC. Both companies are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Sainsbury’s Finance:

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Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Finance provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times.  Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.
Sainsbury’s Finance recent awards include Best Overall Online Provider, Best Direct Personal Loans Provider, Best Online Credit Card Provider, Best Online Life Insurance Provider at the Your Money Awards 2010.

Sainsbury’s Finance is a joint venture between J.Sainsbury plc and Lloyds Banking Group.

For further information and general Sainsbury’s Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit