Easy Ways to Keep Your Money Safe When Traveling Abroad
Vacations are supposed to be relaxing and fun, but not if you’re ill-prepared, lose your belongings, or become a victim of fraud or theft when traveling abroad. You can use the following tips to stay prepared and take action to protect your money on your next trip.
Top Financial Considerations When You Travel Abroad
Traveling to another country means you have to think a little bit more about the money you bring with you and how accessible your cash will be while there. Below are the top four financial considerations you should research before your trip.
1. Have Some Cash On Hand
You need to know the local currency and whether they accept credit or debit cards in your country of choice. If they do not, then you need to calculate how much local currency you should have on hand for the trip. It’s always a good idea to have some local currency on hand and a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees.
2. Review the Exchange Rates
Before your trip abroad, you should review the exchange rates. Even if you plan to bring the proper currency on hand, you should know exactly how much your currency is worth in the country you’re visiting. For example, if traveling to Mexico, you should know what “1,000 pesos” is when converted to US Dollars. This will prevent you from overpaying for any services or souvenirs.
3. Know Where Pickpockets Are Targeting Tourists
Every country is different, but there are typically hot spots where pickpockets can easily grab your wallet or purse. These tend to be subways and crowded destination zones. Do your research for where pickpockets are most active and how you can protect your belongings with various anti-theft bags.
4. Be Aware of Credit and Debit Card Theft
Grabbing your wallet isn’t the only way that you could be taken advantage of when traveling abroad. Thieves can now stand close to you and use a device to clone your credit card information. RFID blocking wallets can help prevent this from happening. These are all things you need to research for your destination, but we have also put together a helpful list of easy steps you can take to keep your money safe when you take your next vacation.
8 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe When You Travel Abroad
Here are eight simple steps both before and during your trip to minimize the chances of theft or fraud.
Before Traveling, You Can:
1. Check for Foreign Transaction Fees
Check your credit and debit card to see if any fees apply when traveling in a different country. If they do, then consider finding a card that has no foreign transaction fees.
2. Notify Your Bank
You need to make sure your bank and credit card company know you’re traveling abroad. This is because some of these companies will freeze your card if they see a transaction in a foreign country. It might be considered suspicious activity if you have not provided them with the proper notification that it is you making purchases in another country. Depending on your bank or credit card, you may have to call them. Check your online portal first as some, like Finch, have an in-app feature that allows you to toggle on and off foreign transactions. As a best practice, this feature should be toggled off when you are at home but can be turned on when you travel abroad.
3. Turn On Notifications
Enable notifications for the cards you’re bringing on your trip. This lets you know when a transaction is being made. If something you don’t recognize comes up, you can let your financial institution know right away and freeze your card.
4. Protect your Devices
Before your trip, you should take the time to protect your devices by updating your passwords and turning on 2 Factor Authentication. This is also a general best practice to avoid unwanted people from accessing your information. If you misplace your bag or it is swiped by a pickpocket, you have an extra layer of protection that might stop them from accessing your money.
While You Travel, You Can:
5. Avoid Secluded ATMs
ATMs in tourist hot spots are often targeted by thieves, so be smart and stay in well-trafficked streets and avoid dark spaces. It’s best to use ATMs that are located inside banks, airports, hotels, or similar safer places. When using an ATM, be discreet when entering your PIN. Thankfully, many stores abroad accept cards (and it’s a safer option) so you may not need to use an ATM often.
6. Take Advantage of your Card’s Exchange Rate
A little-known tip is to take advantage of competitive Mastercard exchange rates. If you have a Mastercard, the exchange rate will typically beat those offered by merchants or ATMs. You can check the exchange rate by using this simple calculator.
7. Choose a Less Obvious Place to Carry Your Wallet
If you are someone who normally stores your wallet in your back pocket or casually slings your purse to your hip, then this tip is for you. You want to keep your wallet in a much less obvious and less accessible place when you travel abroad. Try carrying your purse in front of you and making sure it has zippers for all pockets. You can also purchase a wallet that goes under your shirt and around your waist. While this may not stop all theft, this minimizes your risk as an easy tourist-target.
8. Stash Your Money in Multiple Places
The “multi-stash” method is used by many travelers. The idea is simple: keep your money in multiple locations. Do not carry all of your currency on you. Instead, store some away in a corner of your suitcase or the safe at your hotel. If you plan to bring a few credit cards, only carry one with you at a time. This way if you do become a victim, you have a backup.
Your Easy Solution to Money when Traveling: The Finch Debit Card
Not sure which card to travel with? Don’t fret! The Finch debit card makes accessing your money overseas simple and offers perks that make money management safer when you travel, such as:
- The ability to turn on international transactions when you’re abroad and turn them off when you’re home.
- No foreign transaction fees – however, you may be charged foreign exchange fees and a local currency exchange commission by merchants outside the US.
- Using Mastercard exchange rates. You just need to make sure to choose local currency as the form of payment rather than USD.
- Being able to temporarily lock and unlock your Finch debit card at any time. This is especially helpful if your card is lost or stolen.
- The ability to dispute any suspicious activity directly in the app.
Keeping Your Money Safe While Traveling Is Possible
Travel abroad can be an amazing experience. It’s something you should be able to enjoy without worrying about your money all the time. The best way to keep your money safe and travel with ease is to be prepared and do your homework ahead of time. Researching the area, knowing the currency and exchange rates, and taking the precautions above can help protect your finances when abroad. Bon Voyage!