Published On: Wed, Apr 17th, 2019

Tips for Stress-Free Banking When Travelling Abroad

Christmas Bells are ringing, thus marking the arrival of the much awaited holiday season! People across the globe have started backpacking around the world especially western countries to witness the true essence of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. You may have started saving a year ago for this trip and when it’s finally time to go, you focus more on paperwork, clothes and travel itinerary. While it is important to make sure that everything is in place, a good financial planning holds equal importance before you land in a different country. A credit card can be a great travel companion but you must own the right card to avail maximum benefits. For example, some HDFC credit cards offer exclusive privileges for international travel which other cards may not provide.

photo/ screenshot YouTube

So, let us discuss these financial aspects to make sure that you have a safe and stress-free holiday in a foreign country.

Find the Right Bank

Converting your available cash into foreign currency is one of the first challenges you will come across. While all banks provide debit cards to their savings account holders, some debit cards are better suited for international travel. There are several currency exchange companies that might help you get easy access to local currency but these services are offered at hefty charges. In such cases, globally accepted debit cards can come to your rescue. You can look for the ATMs that accept VISA/Mastercard and use your debit card to withdraw money. Foreign exchange rates apply on these transactions so you must keep the charge slip for reference and where to exchange money.

Find the Right Credit Card

You must also know whether your credit card is suited for international travel or not. You can also apply for a new card before the trip. Almost all banks have travel-oriented cards in their gamut. A credit card that offers low foreign exchange mark-up, travel insurance and other related benefits can be a great travel companion. Also keep in mind various fees related to international spending.

When you apply for a credit card specifically for the purpose of international tour, you must ask yourself the following questions-

  • What are the foreign transaction charges on this credit card?
  • Is this credit card chip enabled?
  • Does this card ensure transaction security when used in a foreign country?
  • Are there any extra travel benefits on this credit card?
  • Are there any international brand partnerships on this credit card?
  • Does this card make flying easier for me?

If the answer is ‘YES’ for most of these questions, you can choose the credit card to use for your next international holiday.

photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay

Get Online Access

It is possible to get locked out of your credit card or debit card when travelling abroad and it would be nothing less than a nightmare. You must keep your online access up to date in order to avoid any last minute account set up. Make all efforts to keep your finances handy and hassle-free when you are out there in a foreign country. If you are not sure whether you will remember all your account passwords, you can designate a trusted person like your spouse, parent or sibling to remember these for you as a back-up.

Moreover, when you are in your own country, you can easily receive passwords and OTPs on your registered mobile number but when abroad your mobile number will not work. So, you must set up the account and online payment systems in a way that you receive authentication messages on your email rather than on your mobile number.

Look up the Monetary Conversion

Despite being aware of the fact that there are differences in currency values, people seldom calculate it thoroughly before leaving. Only a rough estimate of your tour expenses is not enough. The right way is to prepare a list of your major expenses like air tickets, shopping, hotel expenses, dining, etc. Calculate the total amount you need to cover these expenses and do the monetary conversion to find out how much of the foreign currency you are going to need.

Take Precautionary Measures

Keeping yourself safe in a foreign country is important but the safety of your finances should be given equal importance. When travelling abroad, you must always keep more than one method of payment. Keep all your debit cards and credit cards safe at the hotel. Never keep all your money and cards in the same wallet so that in case you lose your wallet, you still have enough to return to your country.

In terms of financial safety while travelling to a foreign country, card protection plans offered by credit card companies can help a lot. For example, if you opt for a card protection plan with your SBI credit card, you will get emergency hotel and travel assistance when you report the loss of one or more cards. They also offer emergency replacement of your card anywhere around the world on priority basis. Some premium plans also insure the cardholder’s near and dear ones.

Inform Your Bank

As soon as you have planned an out-of-the-country trip, give a call to your bank or credit card provider and inform them about it. Sometimes, banks themselves block a card when they see too many international transactions, suspecting a fraudulent activity on your credit card or debit card. So it is in your best interest to communicate the dates of your tour to the bank in advance.

You can follow the tips given above to make banking stress-free when you are in a foreign country. Apart from these, you must keep track of your credit card spending because exchange rates will apply and some charges will also be levied. Before you plan to use the card, check its credit limit to avoid embarrassing situations. Also check the expiry date on your credit card to ensure that it is safe to take it for a long journey. And if it is about to expire, you should apply for a new card well in advance. Find out the international brands with which your bank has tie-ups and shop at those stores to earn extra reward points.

Moreover, if you have a co-branded credit card, make the most of it by shopping at the given brand’s store. Credit card companies also have ties with airlines which can make your travel cheaper and at the same time help you earn rewards.

It is always beneficial for you to stay updated with the latest offers on your credit or debit cards. Banks have become technologically advanced so you must make good use of online methods for funding your international trip. Stay informed, save money and make your abroad trip a breeze.

Author: Rupanshi

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