St Martin and Credit Cards

03 Oct

Well, I just watched Greg from Arizona spend 26 minutes and 12 seconds on the phone to Bank of America Credit Cards only to get disconnected! Basically, Greg’s credit card was refused when he came to make payment. This isn’t because he doesn’t have sufficient funds, or anything like that, it is just because his credit card company isn’t allowing transactions to go through in St. Martin. They “flagged” his card.

This happens a lot. In fact, people come in, they attempt to pay and then when their card is declined they say “But I used it yesterday.” The thing is, this is what happens… Tourists come to St. Martin and use their credit card, and it goes through just fine. Then the credit card company goes “Why is So and So’s card being used in St. Martin? We don’t know! Suspicious Activity! Alert! Call the National Guard! Lock that card down!” So that when they come to use it a second time, the card is promptly refused. At this point, we have to call the credit card company, stay on the line forever, only to get disconnected, call back, stay on the line forever, and then have them release the hold on the card.

Normally there is an “Outside of the US Call Collect Number” that I can use, so it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to call them, but it is still a pain in the butt, especially if this happens to you at a restaurant, or somewhere where they aren’t going to let you call your credit card company.

The answer is to contact your credit card company BEFORE coming out to St. Martin and to tell them you will be using your card here. Although, saying that, sometimes people do this and still it won’t go through. This means that someone made a mistake somewhere down the line at the credit card company. (Or the diver whose card wouldn’t go through was telling me a porky pie when they said that they HAD called their credit card company to tell them they would be in St. Martin.) Also, you should carry extra cash around, just in case your card won’t go through. I’ve had couples in here and all four of their cards have been blocked. Plus, you don’t want to spend 30 minutes on the phone, getting stressed, dealing with reality when you are on vacation, if it can be avoided. So…. Call your credit card company BEFORE coming to St. Martin.

Poor Greg though, 26 minutes and then the woman said “let me just transfer you.” Those are the words of death on a call like that. “NO!” You need to shout! “DO NOT TRANSFER ME!” Inevitably you will get disconnected.

My dad always asks for the names of whoever he is talking to. This is in the hopes that this will cause them to have some kind of deeper accountability if he does get disconnected, but at the end of the day I don’t think this makes a difference. My dad also does this really funny thing when salespeople call the house. He says “Sure, I’d love to hear what you are calling about, but I’ve just got to run out for a sec, can I put you on hold?” Then he just puts them on hold and sees how long they stay on the line. It is wicked, I know… But it’s also pretty funny. I guess I would feel differently if I had worked as a telemarketer before, but I think if I did my dad might cut me out of the will! πŸ™‚

A good website to use is

You simply search for whoever it is you are calling, and then they tell you the best way to speak to a human. Whether that includes saying “Agent” repeatedly, or simply hitting the pound key, it is a great website.

OK, that’s it. Not very exciting, just some advice for you.

I am sitting in the shop this morning with my giant belly. Only two weeks to go. The staff have a pool going to guess the due date. It’s $10 to enter, winner takes all! Apparently the baby gains about half a pound a week at this stage, crazy! My little boy is trying to find room to grow in there as there is no room left. He kicks me all over trying to find some space, then wiggles his way into that space so that he can grow more! I guess he is a little swimmer already… We will find out soon!

Sally wrote this blog with her giant belly! πŸ™‚

3 Responses to “St Martin and Credit Cards”

  1. Charles McCloud October 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    We ran into this while we were on the island earlier this year and tried to use our bank debit card. We had filled out the required forms for our bank to let them know to expect charges from Saint Martin, but were still declined when we arrived at the rental car place. The next day, we found out that VISA was blocking the transaction, not our bank. Thankfully, our bank agent was able to get through to VISA and have them remove the block. 10 minutes later, everything was fine. Just some minor confusion, as we thought we had everything prepared before we left the States, but apparently not.

    • Sally October 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      That is really annoying! At least it only took 10 min to sort out.

  2. Margaret October 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Telemarketers are the main reason I haven’t answered my phone in about 6.5 years. Seriously.

Leave a Reply

Copy this code

and paste it here *