Debit and credit cards are both convenient alternatives to cash when you’re traveling. However, your debit card requires special care on the road, since it’s linked to your bank account. While this makes it easier to budget and manage spending, it also means that if your card is stolen, your account may be drained in no time. These hints may help you protect your card.
Call your bank before you leave town
Let them know your travel plans, especially if you’ll be leaving the country. Give specific information about where you will be and when. This will protect you from theft—and it will ensure that your bank doesn’t cut off your card access because of an unusual increase in purchases.
Limit the amount of money in your checking account
Travel advisor and former financial planner Nora Dunn suggests moving money beyond what you need for each leg of your trip to a savings account. That way, you can transfer funds to your checking account as you go and protect the rest.
Monitor your account activity online
Check your accounts from secure Internet locations throughout your trip and follow up on unauthorized purchases immediately.
Carry cash and debit cards separately
Instead of loading up your wallet or purse, split your funds into different pockets, including internal pockets in jackets. Be extra vigilant in crowds, where pickpockets have the greatest advantage.
Use reputable ATMs
Look for those associated with financial institutions.
Pay attention at the ATM
Experienced thieves may watch you enter your PIN and then steal your card
Review transactions when you get home
Don’t wait for monthly statements. Save your receipts and check them or review each transaction online.
Whether you’re traveling or at home, keep track of your transactions by signing up for online banking access.