Financial health: Financial security while traveling | Company
The summer travel season is underway! Area schools are wrapping up their semester, temperatures are starting to warm up, and individuals are starting to turn their attention to summer vacation plans.
While COVID restrictions have put a damper on plans for the past two seasons, experts predict an increase in summer travel this season despite rising fuel costs.
Travel checklists should include the typical basics like swimwear and sunscreen, but don’t forget to include financial security in your itinerary.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraud involving travel is on the rise, including more than 2,500 cases in Pennsylvania over an eighteen-month period since the start of the pandemic. Crimes like identity theft and credit card fraud generally increase during the summer months.
Here are some tips to help you manage your financial security during summer travel:
Tell your bank and credit card companies
Many institutions use software to monitor your activity for potential fraud. Have you ever received a call from your credit card company after making larger than normal purchases or frequent purchases in a short time? The software recognizes the transactions as outside of your normal activity and will generate a fraud alert.
The same can happen when you live in Lock Haven but shop frequently in Lake Worth. Businesses that cannot verify the authenticity of purchases may temporarily close your card. Alerting your financial institutions before you travel helps ensure your card is available when you need it.
Be sure to include if you are driving or flying to your destination, as purchases made in another city during a layover or pit stop can also trigger an alert.
Download mobile apps
What happens if your card is compromised while on vacation? Verifying transactions through your bank’s mobile app lets you know which transactions belong to you and what may be fraud.
At Horizon, we have a My Control app that allows you to monitor your card activity and sends alerts when a transaction is made on your card. You can also temporarily block your card if you believe it may have been compromised.
To improve your protection, check with your financial institution to see if they have card management features in their mobile app.
Traveling with more than one payment method
If your primary card is lost or compromised, make sure you have a second payment method in your wallet. Be aware that due to the higher fees merchants pay for transactions involving American Express and Discover, not all companies accept these cards for payment. One of your backup cards should be a more readily accepted Visa or MasterCard to cover your vacation purchases.
Limit cash in hand
You can block lost or stolen credit cards, and the maximum you are financially responsible for is $50. With money, once the money is gone, it is gone. Limit the amount of cash you carry and make sure you don’t have cash in view of others.
Check with your bank about their network of ATMs in the area you are traveling to for local ATMs that will not charge service fees. Typically, ATMs in resorts and high-traffic tourist areas (like the boardwalk or Disney properties) charge much higher fees than those located a short walk or drive away.
If you decide to bring cash, check with your hotel to see if they provide safes inside each room where you can set your own combination and use it.
Be safe on public Wi-Fi
What Wi-Fi in public places such as airports, cafes and hotels offers in terms of convenience, they lack in security. Information transmittedyou over public Wi-Fi can be seen by others using the same network. It is recommended not to access financial or confidential information online using public Wi-Fi.
Instead, consider using your mobile data as a personal hotspot. If you need to access public Wi-Fi, pay attention to the warnings, make sure you access encrypted websites, and don’t stay connected longer than necessary.
Summer travel should be fun and relaxing. Following the tips outlined above can help keep financial and personal information safe while enjoying the trip. Don’t let potential fraud keep you from enjoying your summer vacation.
Do you have questions for a future article on financial health? We would like to hear them. Email us at [email protected] with the topic Financial Fitness.