Spring break is right around the corner, and many of you will be traveling. There are a lot of considerations you must make when you’re preparing to go out of town, and how to protect your money should be at the top of your priority list. We have gathered a few tips to help you protect your money while traveling.
Keep your Bank in the Know
First and foremost, you should reach out to your bank and let them know that you are going to be traveling and give them the dates you expect to be away. Some banks will automatically place temporary freezes on accounts if they notice “suspicious” activity like a card being used thousands of miles from your home. Keeping your bank in the know will help ensure that you have access to your money, and will keep your money protected if they notice suspicious activity after you return from your trip.
Use Credit, Limit Cash
Using a credit card can be risky as you are more likely to spend more than if you were to limit yourself to an all-cash budget. When traveling, using a credit card and limiting cash can protect you from losing all of your vacation funds at once if you were to drop your wallet or get mugged. If someone does happen to steal your credit card and use it, you are not liable for any of those charges. You can also report a stolen card and block it from being used. With cash, you don’t have the same level of protection.
Use a Multi-Stash Method
When you’re traveling, it can be easy to think that you should keep all your valuables on you in the same place. We suggest using a multi-stash method. If you are traveling with a companion, split the cash and other payment methods up between the two of you. That way, if one person loses their wallet, there is still another person with some cash or cards that can help pay through the rest of the vacation. You can always store your cash in the hotel safe and only take what you need each day.
Avoid Non-Bank ATMs
In the event that you need to use an ATM, you should try to use one that is associated with a bank. We recommend not using an ATM at all when traveling, but we understand that you might find yourself in need of using one. If this is the case, use an ATM in a high-traffic area or in a bank lobby. Be sure to keep your eye out for any suspicious activity, and check your bank account regularly after using an ATM. Also, keep all of your ATM receipts.
Protect Your Mobile Device
Many of us use mobile banking and often our banking information is easily accessible from our mobile devices. In the event that your phone or other device gets lost or stolen, password-protect your device and set it up to auto-lock after a minute of inactivity. This will help protect your account information from being accessed if your device falls into the wrong hands.
At Points West Community Bank, we care about our customers and we want to help protect their money while they travel. If you’re heading out of town, give us a call or stop by to let us know so we can help you protect your money.