May 19, 2013

Financial Checklist Before You Go Travelling

So you've decided to go travelling. Congratulations  you have made the right decision. However, there are a few things you need to do, before you hit the road. Or the skies for that matter. Just like home, you're going to need money. Unlike home, your bank accounts may not work everywhere you go. And, your bank may give you a rough deal on international transaction fees. It sounds like an advert, but it's not - you really should compare bank accounts for the best deal for being abroad.

Some cards will work in overseas ATM's, some won't. And, in each country it's different. I would suggest asking your bank a few questions - and remember that these days it's pretty easy to switch banks and setup a new account. Accessing your savings account electronically overseas is getting easier these days - but I would suggest that you have a credit card handy just in case.

Don't be afraid to shop around of you don't think you're getting the best deal from your bank. These days, most banks offer a range of different credit cards, all suited for travelling internationally. However, the features and benefits of each credit card varies. On some cards, you will pay a relatively high annual fee - but in return for this, you get a relatively low interest rate, access to a rewards program (where each dollar you spend on your card can be traded in for goods or services), or even specific benefits such as free travel insurance. Other cards will have no annual fee, but may have a relatively high rate of interest on your outstanding balance, and no other "frills". You might say, these sorts of cards aren't fancy - but they're cheap.

I would suggest following this financial checklist, as a minimum, before you go travelling abroad:

1. Check that your savings, or current account card can be used when you are abroad.

2. Find out what the transaction fees will be if you use your savings account when in another country.

3. Make sure you've got the right credit card - for you. 

4. Find out what the transaction fees will be on your credit card when you use it in another country.

5. Find out what the interest rate is on any outstanding balance on your credit card.

Yes, it's the boring bit of travel. However, the financial checklist is just as important as making sure you have the right swimming costume and sunglasses (or gloves and jacket, depending on where you will take your vacation). So spend a few minutes doing a little bit of research - you know most of this can be done online from the comfort of your lounge room - and make sure your financial system is ready for that stint abroad. Most importantly, have fun.


Anonymous said...

It's also wise to check that your bank's security profiling for account transactions won't be triggered when you use your card overseas.

For some years now many banks have had systems which put a stop on accounts which begin making unexpected transactions in a foreign country, or they may do something daft like send a confirmation SMS to a domestic mobile number you can't access.

This can either be a minor inconvenience or cause you to miss your flight, train or border passage depending on the situation.

You can avoid this problem by telling your bank you'll be travelling.

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