Traveling abroad can be fun, yet hectic at the same time. There are a lot of questions to ask before you depart, but where do you start? At TruWest, we're here to help you weed through the tough financial questions that may come up when preparing to travel to a foreign country.
Currency – what's the best option?
There are several currency choices available, but which one is the best fit for your travelling needs? Here are some things to keep in mind as you weigh your options:
- It's convenient and the exchange rate for getting cash is lower than using debit or credit cards, so you won't need to worry about currency conversion charges. (A conversion charge may be applied to purchases made with your debit or credit cards. Check your account agreement(s) for details on conversion charges.)
- You'll have the cash with you at all times, so you won't have to search for a bank or ATM.
- Unfortunately, it's a security risk. It can be stolen easily and can't be replaced.
- It's bulky to carry– especially if you are traveling for an extended period of time.
- If your debit and/or credit card is not accepted, having cash on hand will help.
Debit and Credit Cards
- Both are small and convenient to carry, so you can tote them around easily in your pocket or money belt instead of a purse or bag.
- It's easy to cancel both types of cards if lost or stolen, so you won't run the risk of losing all of your money. Just call 1.855.TRUWEST (878.9378) to report any lost or stolen TruWest cards. (Tip: Write down your card numbers and the Customer Service numbers you will need to call for each card you take with you and keep them in your luggage just in case.)
- Keep in mind that ATMs in some countries will not process PINs with more than four digits. If your PIN has more than four digits, remember to change it before you leave for your trip. You can change the PIN on your TruWest debit card by visiting any TruWest branch or have one mailed to you by calling 1.855.TRUWEST (878.9378). To change the PIN on your TruWest Visa credit card, please call 1.866.839.3409.
- Debit cards have daily ATM, POS, and Signature Debit dollar limits and limits to how many times you can use your card. Be sure you understand those limits and just to be safe, plan to carry a TruWest credit card just in case.
Important Tip: If you plan to use your TruWest debit or credit card while you are traveling, even in the United States, let us know! Most banks and credit unions, including TruWest, have anti-fraud surveillance on debit and credit cards, so any suspicious or abnormal charges that come through may cause the card to be suspended.
- They're secure and can be replaced if stolen.
- You can purchase travelers checks in some foreign currency, such as the Euro, British pound, Japanese yen and Canadian dollar.
- Not all merchants accept traveler's checks, so you'll want to bring some cash or a credit or debit card as a backup.
- Similar to cash, traveler's checks are bulky to carry if this is your only source of currency, so be cautious how you carry them.
The exchange rate is defined by how much foreign currency you can buy with one U.S. dollar. It's important to know what the exchange rate is before you travel to another country so you can budget accordingly. (Note: TruWest does not stock foreign currency at our branches; however we can order the foreign currency and have it available for you to pick up at a branch. Please note that there is a fee for this option and it can take several days, so you'll need to plan ahead.)
Tip: Avoid street kiosks in other countries that exchange money. While they may offer some convenience by opening earlier and closing later, their rates are typically higher. It's a good idea to exchange your cash before you travel, or use your debit or credit card if you're in a pinch.
Due to the high amount of credit and debit card fraud that occurs in certain counties, financial institutions, including TruWest, block these countries from authorizing a transaction. Before you travel, check with TruWest to see what countries are blocked to avoid having your transactions declined once you get there.
Enjoy your travels!
At TruWest, we want to help ensure your trip is as smooth and stress-free as possible. We're here for you 24 hours a day, so please call us at 1.855.TRUWEST (878.9378) if you:
- Plan to use your TruWest debit or credit card when you travel.
- Lost your debit or credit card, or if either card was stolen.
- Have any other questions about using your TruWest debit or credit card while you travel, or have questions regarding foreign currency.