Too many credit cards in your wallet? Maybe you should leave home without them.

Carrying too many credit cards and other vital documents can be a liability. If you are going to do a lot of traveling, give some thought to what’s in your wallet.

Driver’s license, credit and debit cards, health card, and social insurance number (SIN) card all contain personal information which is potentially much more valuable than bank notes.


It’s best to reduce the number of cards you carry. Plan the finances for traveling so that you use two pieces of plastic only:- one credit card and a debit card for withdrawing cash.

If you are not going to rent a car you won’t need your motoring association card. Leave it at home along with library cards, membership cards and other items you know you won’t be using.

One item you should definitely leave at home all the time is your social insurance number (SIN) card. When you do need to take it with you it will be for an important reason, otherwise keep it in a safe place at home.

The SIN card (and number) is one of the most highly prized items for fraudsters to get their hands on. Unlike credit and debit cards, it’s not simply a matter of canceling it and setting up another one. If it's lost or stolen, you need to be at home to gather the appropriate documents together to start the process for replacing it. (The government of Canada no longer replaces SIN cards, instead they issue a SIN letter as a substitute).

Place all your important items that you will be taking with you – credit and debit card; driver’s license; health insurance card; passport etc. on a photo copy machine. Remember to copy both sides of each license, health card, credit card and debit card.

Keep the photo copy in a safe place and perhaps give a copy to a friend or a family member. Take a copy with you, that way you will know all the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel if need be.

If the unfortunate does happen, cancel credit and debit cards immediately. The key is having the toll free numbers and card numbers available so you know whom to call. That’s where the photo copy comes in really handy.

File a police report in the jurisdiction where the cards and other items were stolen. This shows the credit providers you were diligent and it may help in an investigation if there were to be one.

It’s also a good idea to call the national credit rating agencies to place a fraud alert on your name and SIN. This way if a company checks your credit they will know your cards were stolen.

Fortunately, the companies have clever ways of spotting unusual spending patterns. It’s likely that you’ll get a call saying a transaction was cancelled.

Being ahead of the game and prepared though is a good strategy.