Tips for Traveling AbroadIncreasingly, community banks and credit unions are taking proactive steps to help their customers protect their money and identities while traveling overseas. Some basic tips to share with customers:
- Debit Cards: To use or not to use -- Because the risks associated with debit cards are greater and the protection not as robust as with credit cards, banks are counseling customers to use debit cards carefully while traveling, or not at all. Many institutions now require customers to clear cards for use overseas before leaving on their trip. If customers do want to use debit cards while traveling, suggest moving all of their checking account except for what they'll need during the trip to their savings account. That way, if the account is breached, losses are minimized.
- Restoring order: Cleaning up after a breach -- Third-party vendors such as Identity Theft 911 offer services to banks that help customers recoup money and recover their credit after a breach. Some banks pass some part of the third-party costs to consumers; others pick up the whole tab.
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- Education: How to have a safe trip -- Whether posting internet newsletters, issuing statement stuffers or urging customers to contact bank officers before a trip, banks are increasingly helping customers to prepare with tips on everything from how not to be targeted by thieves, how to avoid service sector scams, and to how to report a stolen card quickly from overseas -- including the importance of reporting the theft to local authorities.