Pic by MaxPixel

Are you travelling overseas this holiday? Part of travelling responsibly means keeping your finances safe. 

Francois Viviers, executive of marketing and communications at Capitec Bank, lists four things you should ask your bank before you hop on a plane, bus or boat:

1. What are your currency conversion rates?

Most banks charge high currency-conversion fees to cover their costs and earn a profit. Others do not charge any currency conversion fees, and clients pay no card fees on international purchases. This means holidaymakers can save money by swiping for free – remember to select the currency of the country you’re in when swiping.

2. Can I securely use cellphone banking abroad?

Banking apps are a convenient way of keeping your finances firmly in your hands while travelling. You can continue to transact and manage your finances, as long as you have access to a secure internet connection.

3.  What are your international ATM withdrawal/transaction fees?

You can expect to pay up to R100 when withdrawing R500 or more at an overseas ATM. Remember, most banks charge a pro-rata rate over and above the minimum amount for ATM withdrawals, while some banks charge a flat rate of R50 for withdrawals abroad from any ATM with a Mastercard logo – no matter how large the amount. If your bank charges a flat fee per withdrawal, drawing larger amounts less frequently will save you on bank costs. 

4. What happens if my card or my phone with my banking app on it is stolen or goes missing?

  • Before departure, take a travel currency card and preload it with your destination’s currency so you will still have money in this unfortunate scenario.
  • Keep an eye on your phone for notifications of any transactions you did not perform.
  • If you notice that your card is missing but are unsure whether it’s lost, set your daily limits to zero on your banking app until you find your card. This will make it impossible for someone to transact using your card.
  • If you’re sure that your card is missing and/or you receive a notification of a transaction that you didn’t perform, cancel the card immediately.
  • If your bank has international bank partners, you may be able to have money wired there.
  • If your phone is stolen:
  1. Cancel your mobile banking service to ensure no one has access to your account.
  2. Don’t worry if you use a cashless payment app, such as the Masterpass app – your card information isn’t stored on the device. Your SecureCode and PIN also help to ensure that no one but you can transact using the app.
  3. Contact your bank to report the loss and to suspend your remote banking access.