When traveling, especially outside the country, it’s important to take steps to protect your money and financial accounts from fraud so you can enjoy a more relaxing and stress-free trip.
Tips for before you travel
Before your trip, some simple actions can set you up to spend more safely while on vacation.
- If you’re going abroad, exchange some USD for the foreign currency of the country you’re traveling to. Exchange rates and fees can be very expensive if you wait to exchange money once you arrive at your destination or at the airport.
- Notify your financial institution that you’ll be traveling so a block isn’t placed on your bank cards while you’re on vacation.
- Create a spending plan for your vacation and research local tourist scams for the destination you’re visiting to be better prepared and avoid scammers.
- Consider purchasing travel insurance to stay covered during your trip.
Tips while traveling
While traveling and after you return home, it’s important to monitor your financial accounts for fraudulent or suspicious activity. Take time to consistently check your financial accounts for unauthorized transactions and credit report for suspicious activity.
- If you can, it’s best to pay with credit cards while traveling since they offer better security and fraud protection and aren’t directly linked to your bank account. As a bonus, certain travel credit cards offer rewards points you can exchange for cash, free hotel stays or flights, and more.
- Try to have at least a couple payment methods on hand. That way, if one payment method fails for any reason, you’ll have backup ways to pay. This can include multiple cards and cash, but be aware that carrying too much cash may make you an easy target for pickpockets.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi to complete online transactions if you can (this applies at home and abroad). Use a private network or VPN if possible as an added layer of protection from fraudsters.
- Store valuable items (e.g. passport, cash, wallet) in a secure place that only you have access to, like a hotel safe, and report lost or stolen debit or credit cards as soon as possible. You can also make copies of important documents (like your passport) to have on hand in case documents go missing.
- If your bank allows, you can consider turning on 3D Secure (3DS) for an added layer of spending security while traveling. 3DS requires cardholders to complete an extra verification step when making a transaction for fraud protection.
These simple precautions can your help your finances and transactions stay safe and secure.