Taking Your Money on a Trip: Safe Travels Financially

Your suitcase is packed, you’ve got your travel itinerary, and you’re prepared for the sun and warm weather. But are you all set financially? Unless you have taken the time to consider your money needs, including safety precautions, that pleasure or business trip could turn into a big disappointment and a major expense.

Decide on the amount of cash you may need. You may want to take some cash to pay for small purchases where credit cards may not be accepted. But for your own security, it’s not a good idea to take a lot of cash anywhere. If your cash is lost or stolen, you cannot replace it.

Take a couple of credit cards. They are generally widely accepted (even in other countries), easy to replace if lost or stolen, and your maximum legal liability for unauthorized use is $50 per card. “Just as when you are not travelling, it is best not to carry any more cards than what you expect to use, in case you lose your wallet,” advised Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC’s Outreach and Program Development Section.

And, Reynolds suggested taking two credit cards, each with a different payment network logo on the front, such as American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa. That is to increase the likelihood, particularly when you are travelling internationally, that you can pay with plastic if a merchant doesn’t accept cards licensed or issued by a certain payment network you want to use.

Note: Using your credit card at an ATM or in a bank to get a cash advance can cost you substantial fees.

Consider other alternatives to cash. Debit cards, which can be used at stores and at ATMs, deduct funds automatically from a bank account. Prepaid debit cards, which are generally not linked to your bank account, allow you to load a specific amount of money on the card for purchases and ATM cash withdrawals. With these or other alternatives, research the potential costs, limitations on their use, and your protections if they are lost or stolen.

Don’t flaunt your cash, bank cards, jewelry or other valuables. “When you travel, modesty is not only the best policy, it may also deter a robber,” said Michael Benardo, manager of the FDIC’s Financial Crimes Section. If possible, leave your jewelry and other valuable items in a safe deposit box at your financial institution or leave expensive items at home. Pickpockets thrive in certain communities, so don’t ever leave your purse, wallet or keys out in the open. Consider hiding extra money under removable insoles in your shoes and putting your credit card in your inside pocket or a waist pack under your shirt or jacket. “You could take a backup or ‘emergency’ credit card with you, but make sure to lock it up in the hotel safe,” Benardo added.

In general, it makes sense to keep your cash, cards, wallets and passports in separate places. If you have a travel companion and you share the same credit card accounts, it may be a good idea to carry one card each from different accounts so you can avoid losing all your cards at once.

Pay your bills before you go, especially if you’re going to be away for two or more weeks. Doing so will eliminate hassles when trying to pay bills from the road, which could include finding a secure Internet connection to log into your financial accounts. You’ll also avoid the risk of forgetting to make a payment during your trip and incurring late fees.

Make a list of key numbers and copy important documents in case they get lost or stolen. Your list could include phone numbers for your credit card companies, banks and insurance companies. Consider scanning and e-mailing this list along with a copy of your driver’s license and (if you’re going abroad) your passport identification page to a secure place, such as your own e-mail address or the e-mail of a trusted friend or family member.

If you are traveling outside of the country, make additional preparations. Notify your bank and credit card companies where and when you will be traveling so that transactions won’t be denied based on incorrect assumptions that your credit or debit card has been stolen. Also remember to verify that any credit card or debit card you plan to use can be used internationally.

“Transaction fees and other costs can add up, so do some advance research,” Reynolds added. “Identify what you will be charged by your credit card issuer for foreign transactions and consider using a credit card to charge expenses instead of converting your cash to local currency. But also be cautious of offers by overseas merchants to process a credit card transaction in U.S. dollars because that may result in additional fees.”

Reprinted from FDIC Consumer News https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnfall14/safetravels.html

About Union State Bank

Honesty, integrity, commitment; hometown values that are our way of doing business. At Union State Bank our mission is to be the preferred, locally owned bank committed to providing exceptional service to achieve long lasting customer relationships. The Union State Bank has been serving the banking needs of our community since 1911, when the Farmers and Merchants State Bank was formed in Kewaunee, Wisconsin. The Bank’s slogan was "A Bank of the People, By the People and For the People - A Bank For All The People," and invited the community "if you are not a customer, become one, and we assure you that your interests will be protected in every legitimate manner." In 1934 the Farmers and Merchants State Bank consolidated with the Dairyman’s State Bank, which was located across the street, and the Union State Bank was formed. It was reported in the local paper that "The union of two banks is particularly for the benefit of depositors. All the experience, ability and training gained through many years of banking service is combined here primarily for your protection. The confidence that has been cultivated over past years is now being strengthened." We have continued to grow through the years, and slogans used include "Union State Bank, where rail and water meet" and "Union State Bank, the bank and a half, we give you our all and then some." We currently have four locations. We have two offices located in Kewaunee, Wisconsin which is along the shores of Lake Michigan, approximately 20 miles east of Green Bay. We also have an office in Green Bay, Wisconsin and an office in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Our main office is located at 223 Ellis Street in Kewaunee. Our second Kewaunee location was established in 1996 and is in the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Our Green Bay office was established in 1987 and in September of 1999 we completed an addition to that location. In April 2004 we opened our office in Two Rivers. Originally situated inside the Pick 'n Save grocery store, the Two Rivers office was relocated to a brand new building at 2221 Lincoln Avenue on April 21, 2009. We have certainly grown and changed over years, but one thing remains constant - our commitment to our customers. We are proud to be the only independent bank in Kewaunee, which allows us the ability to offer a wide array of services that are designed to meet the individual needs of our customers. We offer full-service banking from an experienced, dedicated staff of full-time employees. We still believe in the "personal touch," and enjoy getting to know our customers. Even though we are a small, locally owned bank, we offer the latest in technology services, including our website and 24-hour account access via our "Union Access" line. We are proud of our long history of high-quality, personalized service, and invite you to become a customer of Union State Bank. See how "We Make the Difference" for you.
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1 Response to Taking Your Money on a Trip: Safe Travels Financially

  1. Lauren says:

    Great tips! It is important to take these steps to make sure you are financially secure before traveling. Thanks for sharing!

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