Monday, July 25, 2011

Avoid Money Hassles During Your Visit to Mexico

While visiting the sunny beaches and historical sites of Mexico, you're thinking about the outstanding food, the beautiful shorelines and which activities you're going to try next. But what do you do when the funding for your fun is stalled? Even a minor hiccup with your bank card can cause major pains and put the brakes on your travel adventures.

Recently Roma Luciw of The Globe and Mail wrote an excellent piece on protecting your travel budget and ensuring you have cash available when you need it. Here are just a few tips to follow to safeguard your spending cash and to make sure you don't have any money woes while abroad:

  • Always protect your PIN (personal identification number) when you enter it at an ATM or for debit or credit card purchases by covering the PIN pad with your free hand.

  • Treat your debit and credit cards like cash and protect them in the same way. Always keep your cards and identification with you or lock them in a secure hotel safe. Don’t leave them behind in the hotel room or leave them in the car.

  • Only bring the cards and personal identification that you’ll need with you for your trip and leave the rest at home.

  • If you have a chip card, insert the chip first, rather than swipe it. If the point-of-sale device is not chip-capable, it will prompt you to swipe your card. Avoiding any unnecessary swipe of the card will reduce the potential of the card information being skimmed.

  • Don’t take a vacation from checking your accounts online. If you have your own laptop, a smart phone or access to a trusted computer, check your bank and credit card transactions and make sure that they match your actual purchases. If there are transactions that you didn’t make, contact your financial institution and report it as soon as possible.

  • If you want to check your bank or credit card information online while you’re away and don’t have your own computer with you, it is wise to avoid public computers. Consider telephone or mobile banking instead. If you must use a public computer, be sure to clear the cache memory and delete the cookies in the Internet browser before you log off. This will ensure that your account numbers and passwords do not remain accessible to others.

  • Remember to take your card when the transaction is complete. Some ATMs will pull the card back into the machine if the customer does not take it back within a certain amount of time. This keeps the card from ending up in a criminal’s hands, but depending on where you are, the time and the day of the week, it may be hard to get your card back or a replacement.

To read the complete article from The Globe and Mail, click here.

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