Keeping your money safe when travelling can often be a concern before you even leave for the airport. The excitement of heading off on a new adventure is there, but the underlying worry of how to manage your money creeps up on you. When travelling to a new place, the thought of pickpockets or fraudulent operators can cause uncertainty. So it’s important to know how to keep your money safe when travelling and eliminate the worry of losing your money.
We’ve put together a few suggestions to get you started – from your bank cards and cash, to the additional charges you can unknowingly pay. Discover the answers to questions like “Should I exchange currency before I travel?” and “When abroad, is it better to pay in local currency?” below.
Typically, the answer depends on which currencies you’re looking to convert and which country you’re travelling to. It’s advised to switch over some of your travel money for local currency before you travel as a contingency plan. Whether that’s for a taxi from the airport or your first night’s stay in a hotel if your accommodation hasn’t already been arranged. So, if you’re planning to travel with cash, shop around for the best exchange rates before making any decisions – you may find that it’s often cheaper to get it exchanged after you travel.
But bear in mind that making a cash withdrawal abroad can become expensive – as you may be charged with a cash withdrawal fee and a non-sterling transaction fee.
Transaction fees are imposed on payments that take place overseas or with a foreign merchant. These often vary from locations to banks, but these fees will typically appear on your bank statement.
The easiest way to find out what your bank charges for foreign transactions is to check their Summary Box on the website for your particular credit card. There you should find a section titled “Non-Sterling Transactions” or “Foreign Usage” which will give you a breakdown of everything you need. The average foreign transaction fee on most credit cards is 3%, with the exception being if you own a no-fee travel credit card.
If you’re looking to avoid transaction fees while abroad, signing up for a travel credit card can be beneficial. This also means you can leave your main debit card at home and avoid carrying around all of your money. Simply transfer some more cash over on your phone if you feel you’re running out! Some of the best travel credit cards include:
Both Monzo and Revolut work under the same concept. You can set up your accounts directly from your phone and you’ll be able to see exactly where your money is going – from restaurants and groceries to transport and personal care. You’ll be sent a notification of your spending as soon as you use your card and you can even round up every card payment to the nearest pound and stash away the extra cash for a rainy day.
Starling Bank and Halifax Clarity both offer a travel card with no fees, designed to make spending abroad cheaper – and letting you go the distance, without any added costs.
It can also be helpful to arrange for a family member or friend at home to hold onto some of your money, so that if an emergency was to arise, they would have the cash to wire straight over to you.
But when travelling with a credit card, you may find it reassuring to invest in some credit card protection.
Contactless card blockers were designed off the back of the uprise in credit card skimming, which is where someone gains access to your personal card details using a card reader when nearby. And while you don’t need one, they can bring peace of mind when travelling.
There are several products you can buy to help stop card skimming, in the form of wallets, purses, sleeves and cards. They work to protect your debit and credit cards along with any driving licences and passports to help prevent against credit card fraud.
As a rule, it is advised to always pay in local currency when using your card abroad, as paying in sterling incurs a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) fee. This fee is typically 1% of the transaction, which is then often added to the processor’s foreign transaction fee – raising the total to around 2-3%. You can also be caught out when withdrawing from a cashpoint and selecting the sterling option. So, when you choose to pay in the local currency, you’re letting your home bank handle the currency conversion – meaning that it is typically far cheaper as it comes out closer to the “true” currency conversion rate.
Our top tips on how to keep your money safe on holiday
So, what’s the best way to keep money safe when travelling? Discover our top tips on keeping your money safe when travelling – whether that’s for work or pleasure.
- Don’t carry your money/cards in bags or pockets that are easy to pickpocket.
- Where possible, use the cash machines inside the banks for added security.
- When making a payment don’t let your card out of your sight, to avoid the risk of card skimming.
- Always ask for a receipt to make sure that you’re not being overcharged.
- Check your bank statements regularly from your mobile to keep an eye out for any unauthorised payments.
- Where possible, split your money across cash and cards and don’t carry everything at once.
- Always let your bank know when you’re travelling.
- Pick up a money belt and keep your money safe from any potential pickpockets.
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