For the fortunate few who have never come across Murphy’s Law, it goes:-
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Having had an anxious few days in a country where my bank is not, I thought that I might offer a few thoughts on managing your travel funds and avoiding messing with Murphy. I dropped my Visa Debit card in a café without noticing. When I went back, it had not been handed in. This must happen many times each day in a city that runs on tourist money. While it is heart stopping for me, the police don’t care. They don’t have the time to spend on fruitless investigation.
- Go to the police anyway and file a report. Ask for a copy. You may need it in negotiations with your bank when you get home.
- Cancel the card ASAP to stop any fraud. If your bank, like mine, doesn’t have the facility to do this online, your nearest and dearest back home should be able to do it for you over the phone.
- Set up a Skype or Viber account with the ability to make phone calls. International phone calls can devour your mobile phone credit in minutes.
- ALWAYS have a back up plan that you have thought about before leaving home. Lots of financial institutions are getting on board with the concept of a Global Wallet. They are cards that you can load with an amount in a number of currencies and can be reloaded via Internet banking. Make sure you work it all out before leaving home. It may even be a good idea to have more than one, just in case.
- Nobody should need to use travellers’ cheques or foreign currency bought, expensively, at home in these days of internet banking. You are limited to the amount you take with you so if you get into trouble or loose your funds then it is panic stations. Your Visa Debit Card or Mastercard should work in ATMs in other countries but check with your bank before leaving home.
- Make sure to let your bank know BEFORE you leave that you are going overseas and where you are going. They protect your funds by monitoring where your cards are active. You don’t need them to protect your funds from you, though.
- ALWAYS return your card to your wallet or purse before you leave the counter. Make sure that you carry your wallet or purse in a secure place IN FRONT of you, not your back pocket and return your wallet or purse to that place every time you spend.
These few ideas should help you to relax and enjoy your adventure without worrying about your funds. If you have any other hints or ideas, please add them below as a comment so we can all learn from each other.
Of course, there isn’t a lot you can do if your bank, like mine, has a major system blow out and leaves you stranded for days. Please don’t blame the help-line people. It’s not their fault and being loud or rude to them won’t get the system back online any faster.