Tell your bank you are travelling overseas
If you were a fly on the wall at Exchange Now, you'd hear us recommend to our customer's that they should contact their bank and notify them of their overseas travel dates. Why? Because if your bank is not aware that you are travelling overseas and you use your bank card in a foreign country, the bank can often suspect that the transaction is suspect and as a result - freeze your account.
We have heard many stories from our customers who have been caught without access to their money when using their bank credit or debit card overseas. Generally the first purchase will go through and then any following attempts are declined. We don't blame the banks as they are blocking your card for your own protection, however it's certainly not the best use of your holiday time when you are stuck on the phone to the bank trying to re-activate your account.
The easiest way to avoid this issue is to contact your bank before you depart and let them know where you are going and on which dates. This means they have a record of your planned activity and won't think that a third party has stolen your card. Most banks have convenient ways for you to log your travel dates and many banks allow you to do this through your banking app. On the contrary, Citibank advises online that there is no need to log your travel dates...but, if they can't contact you to discuss a suspect transaction then they will block your account. So it is most definitely worth reading into your banks procedures before you travel. Here is a list of links to the relevant banks instructions for logging your travel dates with your bank:
- Westpac -- https://www.westpac.com.au/faq/notify-of-overseas-travel/
- Bankwest -- https://www.bankwest.com.au/help/travel-international/security-when-travelling
- Citibank -- https://www.citibank.com.au/aus/banking/travelling-overseas.htm
- NAB -- https://www.nab.com.au/personal/learn/travelling/tell-us-you-re-going
- Commonwealth -- https://www.commbank.com.au/support/faqs/1350.html
If you do speak with your bank, ask them about the fees and charges you will pay when you use your card at your holiday destination. There are a range of potential fees you may be charged, depending on whether you are using a debit card or credit card and also the type of account you have. Before you speak with your bank, check out our handy Bank Fees Guide so you are prepared with the right questions.
If you would like an alternative option so that you can avoid the fees and risk of using your personal accounts overseas, consider a travel card instead - such as the Mastercard Platinum Multi-currency Cash Passport Card. This travel card has the same functionality as your bank issued card, although it has the added benefit of not being linked to your personal bank accounts. This prepaid debit card is designed for travel, so you will not have to worry about the bank blocking your card on suspicion of fraudulent activity either - plus, you can purchase an additional card as a back-up in the event your primary card is lost or stolen.
We invite you to speak with any of the Team at Exchange Now for more information about using a Cash Passport on your next holiday - no notice is required to open an account, we issue you the cards on the spot.