How to Safeguard Your Finances While Traveling
Booking a flight, finding accommodations, and planning an itinerary are half the fun of any travel experience. As you anticipate that beachside bungalow or mountain-view villa, also remember the importance of setting your trip up for financial success. Whether you’re flying overseas or driving across state lines, below are some best practices to protect your finances while traveling.
Before you Leave
Research and plan. If you’re going somewhere new, start by getting a lay of the land. Research places to stay, where to eat, and what activities you may want to experience. Are you sure that bargain rental car company is legitimate? Are there certain areas that should be avoided after dark? Read reviews from past travelers to ensure everything you plan is safe, reputable, and fits within your budget.
Notify your bank. When you’re sitting poolside and ready for a cool drink, the last thing you need is notice of a declined card. About a week before takeoff, contact your debit and credit card carriers to alert them where you will be traveling and when you’ll return. Purchases made from areas outside your usual boundaries could prompt a red flag or freeze on your account.
To submit a travel notification via Fortifi’s secure mobile banking app:
- Access the Menu
- Tap Messages
- Tap “Or Choose a Form to Submit”
- Select Travel Notification
- Fill out the form and submit
Alternatively, you can call our client care team at 855.876.1500
Notify friends or family. Consider sharing the details of your trip with trusted friends and family. Ask someone to periodically drive past your house, pick up your mail, and confirm nothing looks suspicious.
During the Trip
Choose credit. Did you know you add an extra layer of protection when using your debit card as credit instead of debit? This is because credit does not require you to provide your PIN, and banks typically wait to withdraw funds from your account. Keep your finances protected by selecting credit at checkout whenever possible. As retailers make this trickier to find, just ask the cashier which pin-pad options allow for credit instead of debit.
- Tip: When staying at a hotel, motel, or resort, don’t just choose credit – use credit. These accommodations typically require a large deposit to cover the risk of incidentals. If you use a credit card, the incidentals deposit appears as a temporary hold on your card. With a debit card, the money is actually taken from your checking account and not refunded until checkout, which can then take days for the funds to return to your account. Avoid balance surprises and possible overdrafts by using a credit card for these accommodations.
Diversify payment options. If your wallet goes missing, do you have an alternative way to pay? Consider splitting cash between a safe, your vehicle, and you. Additionally, consider adding your debit card to a mobile wallet for a safe and convenient alternative to carrying cash or your card. Mobile Pay has become accepted at more and more retailers worldwide.
Use caution at ATMs. If you need to withdraw cash, look for an ATM that is inside or attached to a bank. It’s always smart to look at your surroundings and make sure nothing seems suspicious. Criminals continue to find sophisticated ways to attach card skimmers to payment terminals and capture the data from a card’s magnetic stripe. Take precautions by wiggling the card reader to see if it is loose and by looking for hidden cameras. This is also a best practice while pumping gas.
Turn your debit card off (and back on) in seconds. Reach into your wallet and don’t see your debit card? Give yourself immediate peace of mind by opening the Fortifi Bank mobile app and turning your card off. If it’s truly lost or stolen, this option ensures that nobody can make fraudulent payments or withdraw cash from your account. If it was only temporarily misplaced, you can simply tap again to turn it back on.
Create account alerts. Account alerts can let you know if a transaction has occurred or if your account reaches below a certain amount. Sign up for account alerts within online or mobile banking to help you keep track of your card activity anytime and anywhere.
A few extra measures will help keep your finances safe while in the air or on the road. Most importantly, it will help remove any monetary stress and make your experience one to remember.