By Donna Smith
VP, North Dirksen Parkway Branch Manager
I see bank customers when I’m out for lunch, and it’s fun to get the chance to catch up. When they tell me they’re making vacation plans, I always remind them to call me at the bank before they leave so we can monitor their debit card activity and direct them on how to assure their credit cards are monitored, too.
Your financial institutions always need to know when you will be gone and where you are going to help ensure your financial protection. When traveling, take these precautions to protect yourself from potentially risky financial situations:
1. Contact your financial institution prior to your trip. Otherwise, a hold may be put on your account when used in a foreign location as part of fraud risk management.
2. Ask about foreign transaction fees. Sometimes fees are charged for foreign transactions, so find out what overseas charges you may face for shopping abroad. Read my colleague’s post for other money tips when traveling to countries outside the United States.
3. Pack more than one credit card to avoid the inconvenience of having a card declined. Some cards are not universally accepted.
4. Set up online banking so that you can access your accounts online while abroad if necessary. Many banks, including INB, offer other mobile solutions that you could use to monitor your financial activity while you are traveling.
5. Know your card limits. Some merchants, such as hotels, will place holds on your cards, which may reduce your access to your funds. Also, be aware of daily spending limits on your debit cards. Spending limits can be temporarily increased if necessary.
6. Don’t rely solely on credit cards; have a small variety of other payment types available to ensure that you will have access to some money if something should happen to your card.
7. Keep the toll-free number for your bank in a separate place while you travel, as well as the phone number from the back of each card, so if your card gets lost or stolen, you can contact support immediately. If you have an INB Power or Power Plus Checking Account, you have identity theft assistance. If your debit or credit cards are lost or stolen, you have a personal fraud specialist ready to help you cancel the old cards and reissue new ones. To use the benefit, you must activate your BaZing account. For details, give us a call at 1-877-771-2316.
Don’t let a personal financial crisis ruin a trip that you have looked forward to (and saved for!) for months. These simple preparations will set you up for a vacation where you can bask in the sun or explore historical sites without worrying about a hold on your account or a stolen credit card.